3-9 February 2017 #844

Clannish Maoists

Madhav Basnet in Nepal, 29 January-5 February

All 70 Central Committee (CC) and politburo members of the CPN (Maoist-Centre) from Sindhupalchok district resigned en masse last week, saying their party executive committee is ‘ridiculously big’ and ‘filled with family members of top leaders’.

When the CPN (Maoist-Centre) had only 2,483 CC members, the party Chair and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s 14 family members were among them. The party secretariat increased the number of CC members to 3,999 in December, and Dahal’s youngest son-in-law also found a place.

When the Maoists declared a war in 1996, Dahal’s two daughters Renu and Ganga were in Kathmandu. After police raided the houses of rebel leaders, they were taken to New Delhi where they got married.

After the ceasefire in 2006, Renu came to Kathmandu with her husband Arjun Pathak. Both of them are now the CC members of the party. Ganga’s first marriage did not work out, and she later married Jiban Acharya. Ganga was already a CC member. Jiban too was inducted into the party executive committee.

Dahal’s wife Sita and son Prakash are not active in party policy, nor have they ever trained Maoist cadre. Prakash is just a body guard of his father, and Sita is only Dahal’s consort. But they are both CC members of the party.

“What is Prakash’s contribution to the revolution other than accompanying his father?” Maoist MP Shyam Shrestha asks. “If accompanying the Party chair would be enough to qualify as a CC member, then we should induct all bodyguards and orderlies into our executive committee.”

Dahal is not the only nepotist in the Maoist-Centre. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Maoist leader Agni Sapkota, Energy Minister Janardan Sharma and Ex-Energy Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi all promote family members. Five members of Mahara’s family, 15 of Sapkota’s, 15 of Sharma’s and three of Rayamajhi’s are also Maoist CC members.

Maoist MP Shrestha says: “Our leaders prefer to handpick their family members to stop more competent leaders from rising up and challenging their authority.”

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