KATHMANDU, April 28: The establishment faction of the UCPN (Maoist) on Friday formed an organization of ex-PLA members in a bid to organize the ex-Maoist combatants, with eyes on the next election.
Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal while announcing the new party wing at Khanna Garments in Lalitpur, said the organization would serve to more than just organize the ex-Maoists fighters.
He told the gathering of ex-PLA members, YCL and former disqualified combatants that the organization would have a greater role to play in the next election. Around 2,000 people including ex-PLA members considered close to the Baidya faction, attended the program.
“The essence of Chairman Dahal’s speech was that the ex-PLA organization would play the same role in the next election that the YCL played during the Constituent Assembly election,” said Shyam Kumar Budha Magar, an ex-brigade commissar and member of the newly nominated central committee.
The Maoist party had formed the YCL comprising talented members of the PLA in 2006 in view of the Constituent Assembly election held in April 2008. The other parties accused the Maoists of using the YCL to manipulate the election. The Maoist party emerged as the largest party after the election.
“Don’t force me to say anything about its future plan. Be ready for a new revolution. You will have a greater responsibility if the constitution is not drafted,” a participant quoted Dahal as saying at the gathering.
But another participant said that they were not impressed by the idea of another revolution.
The news sister wing has Barshaman Pun as its in-charge and Janardan Sharma as deputy in-charge while PLA chief Nanda Kishor Pun has been named coordinator. Another deputy commander, Chandra Prakash Khanal, has been designated spokesperson.
Though the organization has 119 central committee members now, it has decided to enlarge its central committee to 151 members. According to Coordinator Pun, the organization plans to fill up the remaining posts from among combatants who opted for integration but could not join the army. All former combatants above the rank of brigade vice-commander will become central committee members.
Sources said there are two more reasons why the Maoist party has formed the ex-PLA organization. First, the rebel faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya has already formed an ex-PLA organization and the establishment faction wants to stop the former fighters from joining the rebel group’s organization. Secondly, the establishment faction hopes to keep the former fighters engaged by organizing them lest they languish in idleness at home if they are not given any role.
The new organization will be a four-layered strucuture—center, state, district and village—and will give membership to former members of people’s militia and Suraksha Dal, the latter a better trained outfit than the militia during the conflict period.
Besides, Dahal, Prime Minster and Maoist vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai, vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Secretary Posta Bahadur Bogati and party leader Krishna Bahadur Mahar addressed the gathering.
“I cannot express the entire mood in the hall after the leaders’ speeches. We felt that we were standing on the relics of the People’s War. We are in dilemma how to manage the debris of the PLA,” said one participant.
Though the participants were asked for their questions in writing, the leaders did not furnish any answers. “They collected the questions and took them away, only giving organized answers and promising us that they will answer the questions later,” said another participant when asked whether the leaders entertained any questions from participants.