Yes, he is being challenged and this time more formidably.
He is slowly but surely losing his ground.
The central committee meeting of the ‘Unified’ Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) resumed on Sunday. But the meeting was postponed 15 minutes after Puspa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ tabled his document concerning ‘peace and constitution’.
Nowadays, Prachanda, who ruled the party well over 20 years, has faced formidable challenge from revolutionary leaders and workers. Many cadres want to clip Dahal’s wings in the party and curtail his role, because he has already abandoned party’s structured policies. He has repeatedly violated party’s decisions and collective understanding, which has been reflected on various occasions and on various issues. Prachanda has treated the party organization like his personal property. He, therefore, is no longer the party leader, but the leader of a small faction and clique comprising some of his henchmen.
Decentralization of power is the main subject of debate in the current situation. Recently, Mohan Baidhya and Baburam Bhattarai factions in the party have reached a political understanding on issues concerning decentralization of power and other tactical issues. This has created strong ripples within and outside the party. Interestingly and dramatically, general secretary of the party Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘ Badal, who in the past always supported Puspa Kamal Dahal, has now sided with ‘Baidhya-Bhattarai’ faction, which should be taken into note that a new equation and change is being developed in the party.
There are, definitely, plenty of curiosities and questions concerning this alliance. The new equation and alliance in the Maoist party has concerned everyone in the country including media and intelligentsia. The media have covered this issue with high prominence and greater degree of importance. Analysts have their own views—most of whom have dubbed these developments as the beginning of decline of Dahal’s power and prowess in the party and also outside.
Here are some of the newspaper headlines that tell a tale on the internal power struggle in the Maoist party: ‘Dahal’s decline in the party has begun’; ‘Hatred against Chairman Dahal is intensifying’; ‘Unholy alliance between Baidhya and Bhattarai’; and ‘Once invincible personality is now being challenged’; and so on. The media close to Dahal are making a big hue and cry. The objective analysis of the present situation and developments both within and outside the party are indicative of the fact that Prachanda has, indeed, failed in all fronts. Still his faction has begun alleging that the unity between Baidhya and Bhattarai was apolitical and unholy alliance.
This ‘alliance’ has raised a lot of questions in the revolutionary camp, as well. Revolutionary cadres have raised some ideological and political issues and questions. According to leaders belonging to Baidhya faction, authoritarian working style of Puspa Kamal Dahal compelled them to make an alliance with Bhattarai, which may be true to some extent. But, ideologically, Bhattarai is still pleading Trotskyism, ‘theory of productive forces’ and ‘neo–Marxism’. Bhattarai’s pro-Indian posture is yet another subject of concern for the revolutionaries, who are fighting for national liberation and against Indian expansionism and hegemony. Against this background, is it ideologically and politically correct for the revolutionaries to enter into alliance with him? These are the questions which are yet to be answered. According to leaders of Baidhya faction, ‘this is neither the ideological and political alliance nor is it a long-term one but an understanding to check authoritarian style and attitude of the party chief. This is just an understanding on some tactical issues, mainly aiming to check Dahal’s authoritarian role in the party. It is clear to us and we also want to make clear to all that there will be no compromise on ideology and revolution.’
We were optimistic that after Palungtar meeting changes would take place in the party and also on ideological front. But Prachanda showed his true face and real colour. He violated the decision made by the central committee. He suddenly and surprisingly made his arbitrary decision of disarming and surrendering the PLA in the name of integration. Prachanda’s abrupt and arbitrary decision shocked and worried the revolutionary camp and leaders in the party, which compelled comrade Kiran, leader of the revolutionary camp, to register notes of dissent one after another. The revelatory camp then began to create public opinion on their views and stance as well as the arbitrary and authoritarian decisions of party’s main leader. An 18 point note was prepared which clearly stated the points of differences with Dahal and it was distributed among the cadres and also disseminated massively.
‘It is Dahal, who compelled us to make an ‘alliance’ against his authoritarion attitudes.’ It may be justified at the present moment which aimed at checking the authoritarian tendency in the party, but it by no means would solve the ideological questions that are being raised in the party. This is also not a long–term solution. It is still not sure the party would take correct decisions and move towards correct direction even after the decentralization of power. Ideologically, politically and organizationally, the party has already been ruined and corrupted. This type of party organization is not likely to achieve its goal. Any kinds of cosmetic changes would be worthless and would not serve the real purpose of the party. It would be like taking painkiller when a patient has developed a tumor inside the body and needs a surgery. So this type of cosmetic changes and patch up would not cure the disease that the party has suffered. The party now needs rectification and a total revamping and reshuffle. If we want to build a Bolsevik type of party, we, first of all, have to solve ideological questions. In the absence of revolutionary line, a strong party organization and a dynamic leadership, we can do nothing to achieve the revolutionary goal.
‘Save the revolution’ must be our slogan. It means the continuation of the revolution. It means sharpening of the two line struggle–the ideological struggle. Then we must take some bold decisions. We must keep in mind that ‘right to rebel’ is people’s fundamental right.