Who should become the Prime Minister of a Maoist led government? The answer which depends on whom you ask in the Maoist party, it appears, has kicked off another round of power struggle within the former rebel organization.
Oh… the power! It changes people, makes people and breaks people. Most people that is, and Maoists are included. It appears that there is a serious power struggle going on within the Maoist party. Baburam Bhattarai versus supporters of Prachanda, the chairman. Today’s op-ed article in Kantipur daily by Bishwodeep Pandey, personal secretary of Baburam Bhattarai, brings the feud to the public. The article, in Nepali, titled “Baburam a New Pushpalal?” refers to the latest verbal attacks against Baburam by some “opportunist elements inside and outside the party.”Click here to read the article in Nepali. Click here to read as it appeared in the newspaper’s page.]
“The public support for leader Bhattarai against whom the party once took action for vocally raising the slogan of ‘democratic republic’ has been increasing widely both in and outside the party,” writes Pandey. “History has proved right today Bhattarai’s stand of ‘democratic republic’. The slogan he raised has become the common slogan of all Nepali people, not just the Maoist. He played important role by standing on the forefront to implement democratic republic. Unfortunately today the opportunist and regressive elements inside and outside the party are trying to prove him an opponent of republic [through their] ill intended and unsuccessful politics in Goebbels’ style from inside the curtain. How seriously has Bhattarai taken this issue has become the issue of public interest. His well-wishers are complaining why he is quiet instead of countering it.”
The article talks about “rumors” that are being spread claiming that Bhattarai wants cultural monarchy, an idea that Bhattarai floated sometime back when he as asked by reporters about the fate of monarchy after the Maoist victory.
“Likewise some, knowingly or unknowingly, are trying to launch ill-publicity saying that Bahuram is in the race for the second [position] in the party,” says the article.
This appears to be the hint for the challenge posed by Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ who occasionally tries to portray himself as the second man after Chairman Prachanda in the party undermining Baburam.
The real friction, it is believed, started a couple of weeks back when the party central committee met to decide about the party’s participation as the leader of the government to be formed. Since Baburam lead the parallel government of the Maoist during insurgency (Revolutionary People’s Council), it was expected that Baburam would be chosen by the party to lead the government as the Prime Minister. “It is our declared stand that the first President of a republic Nepal should be Chairman Prachanda,” he had said at that time. “We haven’t decided who will be chosen for the Prime Minster.”
In the central meeting, it is learned, a proposal was made on behalf of Badal saying that be should be the Prime Minister if not Prachanda. Then to quell the possible feud, Prachanda decided to be the Prime Minister himself.
Mohan Bikram, a communist leader, had branded Pushpalal, the founder of the Communist Party of Nepal, “pro-Indian” and “pro-Congress” while writing a book titled “Traitor Pushpalal”, says the article. “History has proved that that allegation was wrong. Those who can’t compete politically try to brand [others] pro-this and pro-that and a broker.”
“The ‘new Mohan Bikrams’ are widely preparing to make leader Bhattarai a ‘new traitor Pushpalal’. A person should be judged by what he does or doesn’t rather than by what he says or doesn’t say.”
Talking to BBC’s Nepali Service this evening, senior Maoist leader Mohan Baidya has angrily reacted to the article saying that the issue will be raised in the Headquarters.
Since the article is written by a personal assistant to Bhattarai many might think that it is a planned defensive strategy by Bhattarai. [Bishwodeep Panday wrote the article at the office of Kantipur, said a reporter who saw him in Kantipur complex yesterday.]