Prachanda, Baidya men clash in Kavre. Is the Maoist party on the verge of split? If yes, when?
The intra-party rift in the UCPN (M) has widened further with the faction led by Senior Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya on Friday (today) announcing a nationwide campaign against the party decision to hand over the keys of arms containers to the Special Committee. Defying calls by the party leadership, the Baidya faction decided to launch a “national awareness campaign” starting Saturday (tomorrow). Leaders from the faction told Republica newspaper that they would paint walls and hold corner meetings to protest the party establishment´s decision to hand over the keys of the arms containers to the Special Committee. Baidya and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa on Friday (today) evening issued a statement demanding that the party chairman and the government scrap the decision.
As the feud intensifies, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Friday (today) morning issuing a statement appealed to the party rank and file and the general public not be provoked by the activities of Baidya faction and instead support the party decision. Dahal said the party´s decision is legitimate and termed the activities of Baidya as being against the party system. “The statement issued by Vice-chairman Kiran (Baidya) that the Special Committee´s decision (to accept the keys of the containers) is against the party decision has left us stunned,” Dahal said in the statement.
The intra-party rift, which was brewing after the Dhobighat meeting in June, burst out after Baidya issued the statement on Thursday (yesterday) protesting the keys handover. But Chairman Dahal said today that Baidya’s move was against the “party system and decision”. “The chairman had proposed keys handover at the party’s meeting and we did not accept the proposal despite discussions for four hours. Therefore, it was not included in the agreement,” said Netra Bikram Chand, who is close to Baidya, to make the point that the decision on handing over the keys was never taken.
The party establishment and the Baidya faction have put forward differing interpretations of the August 25 agreement in the party on keys handover.
Dahal, in the statement, quoting the agreement said the party had “unanimously decided to hand over the keys of the arms containers to the Special Committee if a government under the party’s leadership was formed.” But Baidya has contested the agreement. The Baidya faction, which launched a nationwide transportation strike for an hour Friday (today) morning, held torch rallies in the evening and boycotted the standing committee meeting called by Chairman Dahal. The Maoist chairman issued the statement after the meeting could not take place.
Though the standing committee members close Dahal and party Vice chairman and Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai had reached to the party headquarters for the meeting, they did not take any decision due to absence of the leaders from the Baidya faction and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal, according to standing committee member Amik Serchan.
Meanwhile, a meeting of the standing committee has been called for Saturday afternoon to discuss the differences within the party. The Baidya faction is likely to demand a meeting of the central committee.
Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai is meeting both Dahal and Baidya Saturday morning before the standing committee meeting.
Dahal, Baidya men clash
SEP 02 – Party cadres close to UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya clashed in Panchkhal of Kavre district on Friday (today). At least dozen cadres, one seriously, have been injured in the incident. It is understood that the cadres clashed over the issue of handing over the keys to the arms containers to the Special Committee. The hardliner faction led by Baidya has been protesting against the party’s latest move dubbing it as “suicidal.”
Maoists in Rolpa dissatisfied over keys handover
SEP 02 – UCPN (Maoist) cadres close to party Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya in Rolpa district took reservations over the handover of the keys to the arms containers to the Special Committee. Concluding that the handover of the keys was against the party and revolution, the Maoist leaders demanded the leadership correct the “mistake” they have made. Issuing a statement on Friday (today), Maoist Secretary at the district, Chunamani Oli said that the handover of the keys at a time when discussions were underway regarding army integration was suicidal. “Agitation is for sure if the decision is not corrected,” Oli said in the statement.
He demanded the decision that would disarm and dismantle the People’s Liberation Army and eventually destroy the norms and values of the people’s war should be corrected. Notwithstanding the protest, the establishment faction of the party commented on the statement as normal reaction. Party district in charge Man Bahadur Budhamagar said such type of reaction is normal in larger parties like the Maoists. The keys of the containers at the Fifth Division camps have been handed over to the monitors deployed by the Special Committee at the cantonment site in Rolpa. The keys were handed over to the monitors late night Thursday (yesterday), the division informed. Vice Commander at a brigade, Jagat Bahadur Pun handed over the keys to the monitors. There are 407 weapons in the Division with five brigades and 2437 Maoist PLA fighters.
Keys handed over in six cantonments
Sept 2: The Maoist party handed over the keys of arms containers in six cantonments to arms monitors under the Special Committee while the commanders in one cantonment did not do so. Maoists handed over the keys of arms containers at the cantonments in Sindhuli, Nawalparasi, Chulachuli, Rolpa, Surkhet and Chitwan. But the commanders at the cantonment in Kailali did not hand over their arms container keys, saying they had not received any formal directive from the party. Vice-commander Net Bahadur Chaudhari of the PLA seventh division cantonment in Kailai said they did not receive any formal correspondence from the party and so did not hand over the keys of the arms containers. “How can we hand over the keys in the absence of a formal directive?” said Chaudhary. There are seven main cantonments and 21 satellite cantonments. The arms containers are located in the main cantonments. Meanwhile, Kul Prasad KC, a member of the secretariat under the Special Committee, said that the keys were handed over under a “grand design” and without discussion in the party. “The move is tentamount to surrender,” he said, objecting to the keys handover. He was of the view that the keys should have been handed over only after finalizing all the issues related to integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants.