Dahal lauds new party entrants at plenum to win hearts
KATHMANDU, July 18: Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Tuesday said the party would not discriminate against those who joined the party after the end of the Maoist war in 2006, an assurance many see as an attempt to forestall the possibility of leaders and cadres of the faction led by Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Sonam Sathi and others joining the newly-formed CPN-Maoist.
Dahal, addressing a closed session of the party´s seventh plenum that started Tuesday, also assured leaders and cadres close to Shrestha and Sonam Sathi -- a group of central committee members led by Shashi Sherchan -- that they would be duly entrusted with party responsibilities.
The Shrestha-led CPN (Ekata Kendra Masal) merged into the Maoist party after the latter laid down arms.
Dahal addresses plenum. (Bhaswor Ojha)
"Rest assured, there will not be any discrimination between those who fought in the people´s war and those who did not. The party will treat all equally, bridging the gap between them. I want to assure all comrades that the Maoist party is the convergence of both forces," a participant quoted Dahal as saying at the closed session of the plenum before reading out his political document.
According to participants, the Maoist chairman spent most of an hour-long extempore speech praising those who joined the Maoist past party after the war. Hitherto, such leaders and cadres have allegedly been treated as "others" in the party and were denied due responsibilities within the party. Lower rank cadres said they have been hugely discriminated against.
Dahal with Bhattarai and other Maoist leaders. (Bhaswor Ojha)
According to party insiders, Dahal lavished praise on such leaders and cadres in a bid to win hearts because their support is crucial for him to maintain a majority in the party. They further said the Dahal faction may be in a minority if he fails to garner support from the Shrestha-led faction.
"Dahal´s praise was planned, and was aimed at stopping them from joining the new party and fighting against the Bhattarai faction," said a leader close to Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai.
Dahal also took out time to lambast Mohan Baidya, the chairman of the newly-formed CPN-Maoist, accusing him of splitting the party.
"Baidya was never for party unity," another leader quoted Dahal as saying.
Karki, Sherchan and Madhesi leaders unhappy
Ram Karki, Shashi Sherchan and the party´s CC members of Madhesi origin have expressed dissatisfaction with Dahal for not incorporating their views in his political document and not allowing them present their documents at the plenum. They had registered separate political documents countering that of Dahal.
"We will wait and see till tomorrow. I will talk to Dahal again," Karki told Republica. "We will see whether the leadership will respect internal democracy in the party. I hope I will get a chance to present my document tomorrow."
Asked about his move if Dahal does not allow him to present his paper, he said he do “what a communist leader should do" under such circumstances.
Karki is not the sole leader to express his dissatisfaction at Dahal document. The group led by Sherchan is also equally unhappy.
"We told the chairman that our document is different in spirit," said Ishwari Bhattarai, who is close to Sherchan faction. According to him, they have suggested to Dahal to mention BIPPA signed with India. Dahal is silent about it.
Similarly, Madhesi leaders in the party are also unhappy as Dahal has not incorporated their views in the document.
Dahal´s wife Sita with Bhattarai´s wife Hisila. (Photo: Bhaswor Ojha)