Leadership yet to implement party decisions: Biswokarma
Maoist politburo memberKhadga Bahadur Bishwakarma is a key player in the party faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya. He is the highest ranking Maoist leader to represent Dalit community in the Maoist party. Bishwakarma talked to Republica´s Post B Basnet Wednesday afternoon. Excerpts:
Party leaders don´t talk much about intra-party factionalism these days. What´s going on in the party now?
We formulated new policies and mechanisms to run the party during the last central committee (CC) meeting in mid-January. We could maintain party unity to some extent, and inject a new life into it thereby raising new hope among the people. We formulated a month-long political program for mass mobilization. We are currently discussing second phase programs. But it´s true that there seems to have emerged a tendency to deviate from the spirit of the agreement of the last CC meeting and the basis on which we are united. We are also making a last-ditch attempt to form a national consensus government. The issues of the peace and constitution drafting have been sidelined for such a government. We feel that the party leadership has not also taken this initiative whole-heartedly.
Why not form a national government after the conclusion of the PLA integration process?
There are two sides of the peace process: constitution drafting and the PLA integration. The tendency to seek solutions by separating these two issues to fulfill vested interests of some sections is an impediment to the peace process. These two issues are interrelated and must be addressed simultaneously. The expansionists, imperialists and their local stooges plan to separate the arms form the PLA, and after dissolving it they want to formulate a constitution in their favor and manipulate the next general elections to defeat the Maoists.
Your party was on the verge of a split as various factions wanted to treat the peace process differently. What was the basis of party unity during the last CC meeting?
We formulated a common stance during the last CC meeting. That was to integrate the PLA into the Nepal Army (NA) directorate in a dignified manner. That means group integration of the PLA and its leadership in the directorate. Similarly we wanted to formulate a constitution of people´s federal democratic republic that grants political freedom to oppressed groups. We also agreed that the party leadership committed mistakes by signing the four-point and seven point deals, BIPPA, and by returning the seized land. There was consensus to review them and bring the party into the right track. There was already a decision not to take any political move without consensus and no one has the right to break the party decision.
You say that the party chairman has frequently breached the party decisions in the past. Why do you still trust him?
There are two things. First whether the party leadership is for formulating an appropriate program and policy and second, whether the leadership is ready to implement them. The way the party moved ahead in the month following the last CC meeting was fine. But there have been some confusion and anomaly in the last one month. We are yet to see whether the leadership implements the party decisions.
Many political observers say you are only issuing empty threat to split the party. You can neither go back to war nor launch an urban revolt.
The Maoist party was born to change the current socio-political structure. The dissolution of the party is inevitable if it cannot enforce sweeping changes in the country. The party cannot quit its agenda and betray the country and the people. To join the peace process does not meant we quit our revolutionary goals and neglect the people´s concerns. We can institutionalize the desirable changes by integrating the PLA into the NA in dignified manner and formulating the constitution of a people´s federal democratic republic. If this doesn´t happen, we will appeal to people and create a hurricane of mass movement. The next program of the party will be to increase the role of the people against conspiracy to disrupt the peace process, and the whole party machinery from the top to bottom will take initiative for that.
You are also advocating autonomous Karnali region. Why do you need autonomy?
Karnali has been marginalized and neglected for so long and we want full autonomy for the region in the new political set up. The region is doubly marginalized - politically and regionally. The people of Karnali need autonomy. Former King Mahendra divided the region for administrative purposes. We are not talking about Karnali zone, but Karnali region that includes five districts of Karnali and three districts of Bheri. There is also the demand for autonomy for ethnic Jadan region and we are ready to address it.
You also represent Dalit community in your party. How are you fighting for the rights of your community?
Dalits should get proportional representations in all state organs . There are three schools of thought in the dalits rights movement. First there is a "bourgeois slogan" that is for reservations for dalits, which means the state will show sympathy and kindness to dalits. Second there is a "communist revisionist midset" that is for "progressive reservations". But there is no fundamental difference between the two. The revolutionary school demands "special rights" for dalit, and thats exactly what we want. The way the non-territorial federalism has been floated is a conspiracy against the dalit movement, and it must be resisted by dalits from across the country.