Party radicals conspiring to split party, derail peace process: Dahal
POST B BASNET
KATHMANDU, March 23: Amidst deepening intra-party crisis, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Thursday accused the party radicals of conspiring to split the party and derail the peace and constitution drafting process.
But the chairman of the largest political party said he is ready to take any risk to fulfill people´s aspirations for peace and that nothing would deter him.
“The gist of the current debate is that they [party hardliners led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya] are looking for ways to derail the peace process, while we are struggling to take it to a logical end,” Dahal told a group of media persons at his residence in Lazimpat.
Dahal said the Baidya faction´s decision not to participate in the forthcoming central committee (CC) meeting exposes their design to split the party.
“Their unwillingness to participate in the CC meeting also makes us think that it is their strategy to split the party. I think this may put the peace process in a difficult situation,” he said.
Dahal also accused the Baidya faction of violating the party´s norms and rules by mobilizing ex-combatants against him and the government and maneuvering to formulate a broad political front under the leadership of party Secretary CP Gajurel.
The Maoist chairman, however, said the party may continue with the two rival factions formulating and implementing their own programs and reconcile when the objective reality in the country turns favorable. “Now we can adopt the Chinese policy of one-country-two-systems,” Dahal said in jest.
On the issue of government, Dahal flatly rejected the hardliners´ claim that the party had decided to recall Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai from the government.
“The last CC meeting had rather decided to turn the current government into a national government. They forced me to make Bhattarai the prime minister and now they are again forcing me to get him removed from the post,” he said, adding that he had made Bhattarai the prime minister under pressure from Baidya faction after the Dhobighat pact.
He said he tried his best to form a national government as per the CC decision. “But there is no alterative to the current government as the constitution drafting deadline is just two months away. Under such conditions, I cannot act irresponsibly by forcing the prime minister to step down,” he said.
On the issue of PLA integration, Dahal said the process would begin shortly and complete in a few weeks. “I am ready to take any risk for that,” he said.
On federalism, he said his party is still in favor of the 14-province ethnic-based federalism that was endorsed by the CA Committee on state restructuring, but added that the number could be reduced taking into account economic viability. “There could be a compromise on the number of federal provinces. But identity will still be the major basis for federalism,” he said.
The Maoist supremo was of the opinion that proposed provinces like Limbuwan and Khumbuwan could be merged for economic viability, and in the same fashion Newa and Tamsaling.
“Once six provinces had been proposed in the CC meeting and the party was even positive about it,” he said.
Dahal reiterated that the parties are currently discussing the issue of federalism and that the issue would be settled soon. “We are not for deferring the issue. This will be settled soon,” he said.
During the discussions, Dahal also deplored a “section of Nepali intelligentsia that lobbied for the deferral of UN General Secretary Ban ki-Moon´s visit to Nepal.
“One section of people was against his visit as we were scheduled to address various functions to promote Lumbini. They wrote articles and spread negative publicity about it,” he said.