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Parallel Thapa, Chand district panels in CPN-Maoist
KATHMANDU, March 29: A serious dispute has surfaced within the CPN-Maoist party as the panels led by two senior leaders — General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa and Secretary Netra Bikram Chand–have been forming parallel party committees in various districts in recent days. Parallel committees were formed in Bhaktapur and Bara districts following the party district conventions, when one side saw itself loosing out in the district executive committee. The Chand panel has formed parallel committees in both districts as the official teams elected are loyal to the Thapa panel.
General Secretary Thapa, who is close to party Chairman Mohan Baidya, has been seeking closer ties with UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal with a view to party unification, sources said. Secretary Chand, however, stands against unification with the UCPN (Maoist) and has been holding frequent talks with Baburam Bhattarai, said party insiders. A parallel committee was formed in Bhaktapur under Tilak Malla, who is close to Chand, last Sunday after the district convention formed a district committee led by Devendra Shrestha, a Thapa loyalist.
Likewise, the Chand panel formed a parallel committee in Bara district on Friday under the leadership of Birodh Sharma, out of disgruntlement with the official executive committee. Earlier, the district committee of the party had nominated Rajan Paudel as district secretary. There is serious dispute in the remaining districts of the Valley also as the district conventions loom. “There is a high probability of a parallel committee being formed in Lalitpur and Kathmandu as well, following disputes between leaders in the party central committee,” said a party leader to Republica who does not wish to be named.
The ´Newa Committee´ of the party has been led by Ishwori Dahal, who is known to be loyal to Chand, and so the Chand panel has been attempting to pick close aides as secretaries in both districts as per seniority. Dahal himself is vying to be district secretary in Kathmandu and Mohan Karki is likely to be picked for Lalitpur. However, leaders close to Thapa are not for endorsing Dahal and Karki in Kathmandu and Lalitpur.
Party sources have claimed that Rajkaji Maharjan is vying in Lalitpur and Surendra Shrestha in Kathmandu, both from the Thapa panel. Maharjan said that they would try to resolve the dispute in both districts prior to the district conventions. “We have been holding talks to forge consensus in both districts,” Maharjan told Republica. The district convention of Lalitpur is scheduled for coming Saturday and that of Kathmandu for April 28. Similarly, the civil service union affiliated to the party has already become divided for the same reason. Party insiders said that a serious dispute has also emerged in the party-affiliated labor union.