KATHMANDU, Aug 3: The UCPN (Maoist) has finally resolved a long-running dispute over the size of its general convention organizing committee although it has meant going against the decision of the recently held plenum.
As it tried to maintain the political equation among the three factions led by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai and another Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha, the party formed a 251-member jumbo organizing committee though the plenum had decided on a 175-member body.
However, the party picked only 231 members for the committee today and decided to add 20 more members to it, later.
A meeting of the general convention organizing committee opted for the jumbo size after leaders of sub-factions of the Dahal, Bhattarai and Shrestha factions along with Amik Sherchan, Sonam Sathi and Ram Karki strongly objected to Dahal´s proposal to include 68 new members in the committee decided by the plenum.
"The organizing committee became jumbo-size to balance the equation among the factions in the party," said organizing committee member Khgaraj Bhatta, "The party is being run under a 22-year-old mechanism. So, this is a result of the lack of policy and procedure in the party."
Before taking the decision, Dahal had held a meeting of office bearers at his residence at Lazimpat on Thursday morning. Then a joint meeting of office bearers of the Maoist party, state committee in-charges and selection committee members took place before the final meeting held at party headquarters at Perisdanda.
Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Bhim Prasad Gautam and Ram Karki had strongly objected to the decision, saying they would not be compelled to abide by any decision taken by the organizing committee if their voices are not heard. But they did not voice their concerns in the hall after Dahal assured them that their objections would be registered.
"I do not agree with this decision. It is a huge discrimination against the factions. The decision came unilaterally," a leader quoted Gautam as saying at the meeting. According to a source, Karki had asked Dahal about the criteria for selection of members of the organizing committee.
Party leader Ishwari Bhattarai, who is close to Sonam Sathi --a group of Maoist leaders, had given Dahal seven names for inclusion in the organizing committee but Dahal did not include any of them even though he had threatened not to abide by the decision if they were excluded.
"It is a symbolic protest against the decision taken unilaterally by the three factions," said Bhattarai.
Though Karki, Rayamajhi and Gautam did not criticize the nominations, most of the members who spoke in the hall objected to the nominations to the committee, saying the leaders did not listen to their complaints and accusing them of pulling the names out of their own pockets. They also accused Bhattarai and Shrestha of remaining silent in the hall because their own choices had already been included in the committee.
"It is meaningless hobnobbing with the top leaders. We cannot stay on in this party and tolerate injustice. Even senior comrades have been left out. The decision cannot unite the party," Ishwori Bhattarai quoted Prabhu Sah, who is close to the Bhattarai faction, as saying.
Interestingly, committee member Jhakku Prasad Subedi asked the leaders about not including Renu Dahal, the daughter of Chairman Dahal, in the committee though she is a senior in the party.
"Renu must be chosen for the committee. She is a senior cadre. The party should not exclude her just because she is the daughter of the chairman," member Bhattarai quoted Subedi as saying. However, Renu´s father-in-law T.P. Pathak has been nominated to the committee.
Even Balkrishna Dhungel, a convicted murderer, has been nominated to the 231-member organizing committee.