National Sections of the L5I:

Internal divisions open up in Nepali Maoists

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Rajesh Thapa, from Nepal, reports on the latest developments in the Nepali Maoist party

As the third extended deadline of the Constitution Assembly, August 31, approaches, conspiracies are now being hatched to dissolve it. No significant progress was made in the past month and the parties involved are being too frustrated with the deadlock. The people too are growing weary of the slow pace of change. Dozens of constitutional related issues like the forms of governance, election system, etc and issues related to state restructuring and devolution of state power are yet to be resolved. The Constitution Writing process has been halted by the political parties due to their lust for power as well as the internal dispute within the largest party, the UCPN (Maoist).

The CPN (UML) Prime Minister has been repeatedly asked to resign by the opposition Congress as well as his own party members. Amidst the demand for his resignation and despite his own preference he has been forced to integrate the major coalition partner - the Maoist’s new group of ministers - in the six month old government. Now the opposition wants immediate implementation of the five-point deal signed among the major three parties on May 21 while extending the CA’s term by three months. It includes the resignation of the PM to pave the way for ‘national unity government’ as well as preparing the first draft of the new constitution and integrating the Maoist combatants.

Inside the Maoists

The internal dispute within the CPN Maoist has also reached a new height. The Chairmanship of Pushpa kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ had never been challenged to such an extent. His unlimited powers within the party have now been curtailed. The internal party struggle was clearly visible when the senior Vice- Chairman ‘Kiran’ wrote a note of dissent when Chairman Prachanda adopted the line of ‘Peace and Constitution’. Since then signature campaigns (petitions) and separate meetings of different factions had become common. All three vice chairmen unsatisfied with the unequal power sharing and work division within the party are now in an alliance demanding ‘scientific’ work division from top to bottom and ‘one person one post’ as they manoeuvre to create strong factions around them.

Their differences with the Chairman are very wide. They wanted a major change in the party’s organisational structures before moving onto other issues. Whilst Prachanda remained the party chairman and the parliamentary party leader both to maintain his power and politics, he temporarily resolved the internal disputes after including supporters of the vice chairmen and allocating new power sharing among the top leaders. Now the party has sent a new set of ministers to the CPN-UML’s government. As the struggle between the factions of Chairman Prachanda and senior vice chairman ‘Kiran’ continues, the faction supporting the vice Chairman Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has become very strong within the party. Now Dr. Bhattarai has been proposed as the party’s candidate for the next prime minister by the central committee meeting. He and Kiran combined have almost 50 percent supporters in the 148 members’ central committee, equal to that of the chairman Prachanda.

As the political crisis continues the economy has not been able to grow sufficiently. The economic growth rate of merely 3.5% has been achieved which is too low not only to meet public expectations but also in comparison to that of the only two neighbouring countries, India and China. Various problems like delayed budgets and unprecedented energy crisis have also added to this economic paralysis. Over the last five years, the growth rate has remained just 0.3 per cent that is so absurd. Now, the top three prioritized issues of constitution drafting, combatant integration and government formation are likely to lead Nepal into deeper political and economic crisis. The poor and the oppressed cannot rely on the tactics of the old and the new parliamentary parties like the UCPN-Maoist. In such a crucial political moment they have not been able to direct the revolutionary mass of the people towards the achievement of their interests. On the one hand, they have failed to meet the people’s mandate for change and on the other failed to improve the socio-economic situation. We need a party that can show and lead us in the revolutionary direction of smashing the bourgeoisie state mechanism and establishing a society based on socialist ideals.