Maoist delegates find Dahal’s document lacking in clarityAs discussions start on the chairman’s political paper, many say a concrete policy and time-bound programme is needed to transform the once-revolutionary party.
As delegates started poring over the document presented by their chair that is supposed to give direction to their party, their immediate concern was—what exactly it was trying to say and achieve.
Multiple delegates who are participating in the ongoing Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) national convention told the Post that chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s document “lacked clarity”.
The party has formed 25 groups to hold discussions on Dahal’s document presented on Monday. However, it was not distributed to the delegates immediately, making it difficult for everyone as to how they could make their viewpoints.
Discussions on the 45-page document started Tuesday, with little time for delegates to go through it properly.
Many said the document has been prepared in a classical style, which is full of jargon but falling short of offering any clear ideological line for the party.
“One example,” said Surendra Basnet, a group member. “There is this production brigade. It was raised eight years ago as well when the party held its seventh convention in 2013. What happened over the years?”
According to Basnet, most of the delegates are demanding a clear-cut and time-bound programme for the party.
“If we are to achieve socialism, what are the strategies? There’s nothing in the document,” he said.
Discussions on Dahal’s document, which was kept a secret until Monday night, started on Tuesday. Every group will get 15 minutes to present their conclusion on Wednesday. Those who couldn’t complete their discussions have until Wednesday morning to do so.
Leaders said that after all 25 groups present their conclusion and Dahal responds to them, a final draft will be prepared which will define the course for the party.
There, however, was confusion regarding a “differing view” presented by Ram Karki, a Central Committee member who often doesn’t hesitate to criticise the leadership.
Karki has presented his own document saying that a two-line struggle is necessary to save the party from failing. His document is viewed as a challenge to Dahal’s document in the sense that he has presented his own views to take the party forward.
Karki in his document has explicitly said that the Maoist party has plunged into the quagmire of parliamentary system. He, however, has maintained that his “is a supplementary document” to the chairman's proposal rather than a differing view.
But Karki’s document was not sent to all groups for discussions. Only a few groups received the document. Delegates said not much discussion could take place on Karki’s document.
Dahal in his document has outlined the Nepali way to achieve socialism in the 21st century.
He, however, has faced criticism over the years for failing to live up to his words.
Observers and party insiders say the Maoist party has lost its revolutionary zeal over the years. After emerging as the largest party from the 2008 elections, the Maoists became a distant third in 2013.
The next two years were spent on drawing up the constitution. After the constitution promulgation, Dahal has tried either to appease the CPN-UML or the Nepali Congress, thereby completely ignoring what his party actually aimed, according to insiders.
A power player, Dahal has remained an uncontested leader in his party for over the last three decades. Insiders say he has developed an uncanny attitude to not let any dissenting voice grow.
“The way Karki’s document is being quelled shows the intent to obstruct dissenting views,” said a leader close to Karki. “The party restricted Karki from presenting his views at the closed session and has asked to present it through the group leader. How can any other leader present a view that is of Karki?”
A Standing Committee meeting held on Tuesday afternoon decided not to let anyone present views individually. The meeting decided that but through the group discussions.
Delegates were also of the view that some leaders were constantly getting opportunities to hold positions of benefit, against the party’s principle.
According to some delegates the Post spoke with, there was a growing voice that a leader must not be given any opportunity to become a minister for more than two terms.
Dahal is also being criticised for allowing certain leaders to have powerful state positions like ministers and ignoring others, according to a delegate.
Delegates said they are also not at ease because the chairman has not been ready to make an honest assessment of himself, the leadership and the party despite the party seeing multiple splits over the years.
“Many delegates in our group said the document lacks proper assessment of party splits over the years,” said Baburam Bishwakarma, a delegate representing Syangja who works in Dubai and is in Kathmandu to participate in the convention. “Without proper assessment of past mistakes, we cannot move forward and strengthen our organisation.”
Even though Dahal has tried to justify why the Maoist Centre’s merger with the CPN-UML was a right move, some delegates said the unity was flawed. The Maoist Centre and the UML had merged in May 2018 to form the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), the largest communist force the country had ever seen. However, an infighting in the party and discord between Dahal and UML’s KP Sharma Oli ultimately resulted in the invalidation of the NCP on March 7, courtesy the Supreme Court.
Some delegates argued that the Maoist leadership failed to comprehend the fact that Oli was against the republican set-up and federalism and decided to go for unity with the UML.
During discussions, according to delegates, participants also demanded that Dahal must provide an explanation as to how the Maoist Centre sees other parties like the UML and the Nepali Congress and countries including China, India and the United States of America.
“The main question is what should be our goal and how we achieve it,” said a leader who is leading one of the 25 groups discussing Dahal’s document. “All the delegates are of the view that our party needs to transform. But the transformation can happen only when leaders mend their ways. It should start from the leadership.”