KATHMANDU, June 17: As the national gathering of the UCPN (Maoist) dissident faction kick-started at Baudha, Kathmandu on Saturday, top leaders from the faction were already starting discussions for electing the chief of the new party that may emerge from the gathering.
Those privy to the development said the leaders are mulling two options for electing a new leadership. "If we adopt the policy that "the person that guides the party according to his/her ideology deserves the leadership as well", we will most likely elect Mohan Baidya as party chairman. Or we may elect Ram Bahadur Thapa as party chief if leaders go for power sharing in the top position," said the leader, preferring anonymity. Either way, it will be a collective leadership. At present, Baidya is senior vice-chairman of the UCPN (Maoist) and Thapa is general secretary.
The leaders are mulling over electing Thapa as party chairman only if Baidya prefers to be the new party´s patron. But they are not clear about the authority and jurisdiction of the patron because Baidya still actively leads the dissident faction.
According to sources, there is a possibility of electing CP Gajurel or Netra Bikram Chand as general secretary. Gurung is a likely candidate for vice-chairman.
Phampha Bhusal, Hari Bhakta Kandel and Khadga Bahadur Biswakarma are likely names for secretary. But nominations for general secretary, vice-chairperson and secretary will be co-related with the election of the party chairman. If Baidya is elected party patron, the other leaders´ position will be elevated.
According to leaders involved in discussions, they will go for one-man leadership and centralize powers in the party chairman, if the party cadres demand a purge in party organization. If they go for that option, they will elect Baidya and Thapa as coordinator and co-coordinator respectively.
"The issue of leadership elections will be floated at the CC meeting. The national gathering and CC meeting will go simultaneously," said a CC member.
Addressing the inauguration of the national gathering, Baidya indicated that they are going to form a new party because no alternative was left as "party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai deviated from the party´s revolutionary policy and worked against the country and people."
"The party shouldn´t be only for the sake of party. It should be for the country and people. But our party leaders failed to work for people and country. There is no point staying on with them in the name of party unity," Baidya announced at the function attended by thousands of party representatives from across the country. As Baidya fiercely criticized Dahal and Bhattarai and announced the formation of a new revolutionary party, the ideologically-charged cadres shouted and clapped.
Secretary CP Gajurel said there was no point keeping party unity intact under Dahal, "under whose leadership both the People´s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Constituent Assembly were dissolved".
Similarly, standing committee member Netra Bikram Chand accused Dahal of enjoying a lavish lifestyle and misusing money earned through the party cadres´ sweat and blood.
"We will face risks to save the party from compradors," he said, indicating Dahal and Bhattarai as compradors.
Addressing the program, Jaypuri Gharti Magar, Krishna Dev Singh Danuwar, Eka Raj Bhandari and Suresh Ale Magar also accused Dahal of betraying the dream of the martyrs, the disappeared, the injured and cadres.
Sonam Sathi´s group joins faction
Politburo member Sonam Sathi aka Shashi Sherchan and his team also participated in the gathering. Earlier, his group was not close to the Baidya faction.
Leaders said half a dozen party CC members including Ishwari Bhattarai, Kishan Sharma and Ghana Shyam Sharma Paudyal have joined the Baidya faction.