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Dahal promises unity

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal presented a political document expressing his commitment to collective leadership on the third day of the party’s ongoing sixth plenum at Palungtar. Defending his paper, Dahal said that the party should use the peace process, the constitution, and a people’s revolt to achieve its goals. He claimed the party would remain united. “If this plenum fails to settle the intra-party rift, we will go for a national conference. If that cannot resolve it, we will go for a general convention, and if that fails too, then we will go to the people,” he said.

Dahal’s attempt to present a single document at the plenum, incorporating the papers of both vice-chairmen Baburam Bhattarai and Mohan Baidya, was rejected outright at the standing committee meeting on Sunday. Bhattarai and Baidya, presenting their political documents on Monday, had criticised Dahal for not having a clear ideological line to lead the party. Baidya even threatened to revolt against the party.

Bhattarai and Baidya represent two extreme party lines while Dahal has taken the middle path. Bhattarai claims that the party has come this far due to his ideological push for a ‘democratic republic’ and insists that it should be made the party’s official line. Baidya, on the other hand, has been pushing for a ‘people’s republic’. Another ideological difference is regarding who should be considered the principal enemy. Baidya is close to Dahal in thinking domestic feudalism and India should be declared the principal enemy, against whom war should be waged. Bhattarai believes in institutionalising the achievements made so far, and completing the peace process and constitution writing, before taking the next step towards communist ideological goals.

The party has not called a national convention in 18 years, ever since Dahal became chairman, though conventions were meant to be held every five years.

Following Dahal’s presentation, the closed sessions have been concluded for Tuesday, and 30 groups have been formed to review all three papers. If the groups come up with a single view, only one person will speak on behalf of all groups, otherwise there will be three speakers to comment on behalf of the three papers.

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