Chand’s party in talks to convince ex-Maoist leaders
KATHMANDU, DEC 08 – The newly formed CPN Maoist has approached former Maoist leaders, including Matrika Yadav and Mani Thapa, in a bid to woo them into joining the party. The Netra Bikram Chand-led party, which broke away from the Mohan Baidya’s CPN-Maoist, is holding talks with former UCPN (Maoist) leaders who had formed their own party. The two sides held the first round of talks to discuss prospects of working united. “Our talks have been positive. But we are still far from striking a deal to bring them into the party,” said a CPN Maoist CC member.
Thapa also confirmed having talks with the party, but said it would still take a few more months before the unification bid could materialise. He had previously held similar talks with Maoist parties led by Baidya and Dahal without a result. CPN Maoist leaders are trying to strengthen the foundation of the new party, incorporating former Maoist leaders, ex-PLA combatants and leadership of Maoist sister wings.
The party leadership is also trying to win over those with extreme-left sentiment in the UCPN (Maoist), leaders said. The party constitutes about a third of the central committee members from the Baidya-led party. Thapa, who was expelled from the Maoist party during the ‘People’s War’, currently heads the Nepal Communist Party-Revolutionary. Matrika Prasad Yadav, a prominent Madhesi face in the insurgency-era CPN (Maoist), became a Cabinet minister in the Dahal-led government. He split from the UCPN (Maoist) to form his own party named CPN (Maoist) in 2009. The two parties are in the working alliance of five Maoist parties.
Restraint in response
The split in the CPN-Maoist last week has led to some fears that violence could escalate in the country. The leader of the breakaway faction Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplab’ and his followers have long been known to be the most radical of the Maoists. They have long expressed their opposition to the peace process and have made no secret of their desire to return to armed conflict. It is no surprise that the state security forces have adopted an extremely cautious stance towards the group, keeping close track of the radical elements in Chand’s group.
Such vigilance is necessary. At the same time, however, it is important to caution the government against excessive use of force against this group. In fact, the use of disproportionate force by the state apparatus could be exactly what the Chand group is looking for, in the hope of fanning their strength and appeal among a certain section of society. That would be unfortunate for it would only lead to the victimisation of innocent civilians. If history of the last insurgency is anything to go by, the anger aroused through the targeting of innocent people by security forces was one major contributing factor fanning the Maoist movement in the mid-90s.
To put things in perspective, however, while Biplab and company may espouse a strong rhetoric, they seem ill prepared—mentally and logistically—to immediately launch an armed rebellion with the state. Their most recent press statements are cautious, stating that the new party will focus more on ‘organisation building’ for now. In an attempt to reach out to the population and the international community, the group says that it is committed to the peace process, but that it just wants the full implementation of the peace agreements. It blames the Nepali Congress for the failure to implement past agreements fully. It may be that the party does not genuinely believe this, but by expressing commitment towards the peace agreement, it is clear that it wishes to avoid antagonising the state and inviting retaliation.
CPN-M memo to PM Koirala warning of movement
KATHMANDU: CPN-Maoist-led United People’s Committee today submitted a 13-point memorandum to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala urging him to dissolve the Constituent Assembly. A delegation led by party spokesperson and secretary of the committee Pampha Bhusal handed the memorandum to the PM at the latter’s office in Singha Durbar. Reading the memorandum, Bhusal urged the government to form an all-party political conference to forge consensus. The committee warned that people would resort to all kinds of movements if its demands were ignored.