KATHMANDU, August 1: As the troubled UCPN (Maoist) gears up for a crucial meeting of its General Convention Organizing Committee (GCOC) slated for Wednesday to fill its 71 vacant seats, commentators are watching how Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal will carry out the job, something he has been avoiding for the last four years.
As per the party statue, the GCOC, which came into existence after the recently concluded party plenum decided to convert its Central Committee (CC) into the GCOC, incorporates a total 175 members.
The UCPN (Maoist) had enlarged its CC membership to 148 following the merger with the CPN (Ekata Kendra-Masal) led by Narayan Kaji Shrestha and other fringe leftist parties. But it shrank to only 104 members after the Baidya faction broke away.
Chairman Dahal had called the GCOC meeting last week but it was soon postponed after failure to reach an understating among the various factions on the new names on the GCOC along with their responsibilities.
Earlier, the recently concluded plenum had decided to organize the party´s national convention for the first time in 22 years, in February
GCOC member Krishna Bhujle told Republica that the proposed GCOC meeting will talk place only if the factional leaders find a consensus on adding new members. "If they fail, Dahal will have no option but to postpone the meeting once again," he said.
Sources close to Dahal say that he dropped the idea of taking the agenda of fulfilling the vacant posts on the GCOC to last week´s meeting after he received recommendations for 400 names for the 71 seats.
Following the breakaway of the Baidhya faction to form a new party, three major factional groups have emerged in the party. These are led by prominent leaders like Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice-chairmen Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and Narayankaji Shrestha.
Before the plenum, Bhattarai was demanding 40 percent of the seats in the GCOC and that was the main cause of the postponement of last week´s meeting, according to sources close to developments.
"As the plenum has ended all factionalism in the party, the demand itself carries no further meaning," said Bishwabhakta Dulal, member of the taskforce for selection of new leaders to the GCOC, and expressed hope that the GCOC meeting will fill the vacant posts.
He dropped a hint about the possibility of inducting 60 members and said the remaining 11 seats will be kept vacant for the fringe leftist parties that are expected to merge with the party in the near future.
According to Dulal, the Maoist party has formed a taskforce to set down criteria for selection, including seniority and status like women, Dalit, Madhesi/Muslim and Janajati.
According to Gajurel, who is close to Dahal, a meeting is likely to induct new faces from only among women and the Dalit communities as members of the GCOC.
Similarly, the GCOC meeting is also expected to allocate crucial responsibilities in the party that have remained unattended following the recent split in the party.
According to party leaders, the chiefs of the Newa, Seti-Mahakali, Bheri-Karnali and Tharuwan state committees have been vacant following the split.