At the time when the Mohan Baidya led faction of the UCPN (Maoist) has taken to the streets against the decision taken by party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal allowing the Nepal Army to take control of the Maoist combatants, cantonments and arms, Republica´s Kiran Pun caught up with Mohan Baidya, who is also the party´s senior vice chairman, to learn about his next move. Excerpts:
Your faction had already expressed reservation over the 7-point deal with Nepali Congress and UML on integration. Since the handover of the cantonments, containers and combatants was made on the basis of the deal what´s the point in your faction staging protests now?
The decision allowing the Nepal Army to capture the cantonments is against the decision of the party central committee. The e central committee has decided to take ahead both the integration and constituting drafting process simultaneously. Moreover, party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister did not consult us before taking such a decision.
But Chairman Dahal has argued that your objection does not have any meaning. He has even alleged that it has become a ritual for your faction to stage protests against all decisions taken by the establishment faction.
We have registered our disagreements even in the past. There is no meaning in what others say about our protests. Our posterity and history will evaluate our decision.
The Dahal faction has been accusing your faction of inciting combatants to raise various issues including financial transparency in the cantonments. Your faction has also been accused of planning to seize weapons, forcing the government to deploy army in the cantonments.
It is a baseless allegation. In fact, we had differences on various issues which have become public now. The allegation is solely aimed at turning intra-party ideological conflict into enmity.
What plans do you have for the PLA? Are you planning to reorganize it?
PLA comrades opting for voluntary retirement have already formed an organization. We will hold discussions within the party over the fate of retiring PLA personnel.
Key issues related to the ongoing peace process have already been resolved. What do you plan next?
The process of integrating PLA combatants is almost over. We had already anticipated this kind of result while expressing reservation over the seven-point deal reached on November 1 last year. Now, the task of constitution drafting remains incomplete. We are closely watching the developments if there will be a pro-people constitution. We´ll see if Chairman Dahal will remain firm in the party´s stance for such a constitution. Our future course depends on Chairman Dahal´s move in the days ahead. We have watched what he has done so far. We urge him to move ahead in accordance with the party decision.
But some leaders from your faction have publicly said that there is no possibility of you moving ahead under Dahal´s leadership.
We have been launching separate programs in our own way. But we are still in the same party. We have given continuity to discussions. But, this does not mean that we do not accept Dahal´s leadership.
They are saying that you are planning to launch a revolt. Is this true?
This is a purely hypothetical and baseless allegation. There is no necessity to raise arms if the issues raised by ordinary people are addressed. But people would automatically raise arms if their issues are not addressed. We will not have to raise arms under such a situation. We have never said we are going to raise arms.