Dahal elected party chair, againA meeting of the newly formed Central Committee reinstalled the Maoist leader for next five years, unopposed.
A meeting of the Central Committee held after the eighth general convention of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) has reelected Pushpa Kamal Dahal as party chair for the next five years.
“Narayan Kaji Shrestha proposed Dahal be elected party chair and the Central Committee endorsed the proposal,” Ramesh Malla, Dahal’s chief personal secretary, told the Post.
As many as 236 members for the Central Committee were announced on Sunday by Dahal. The party envisions a 299-member Central Committee. The remaining 63 members will be appointed later, according to leaders.
The Central Committee now has to elect 14 office bearers, but no date has been fixed.
The party has amended its statute to have one senior vice-chair, six vice-chairs, one general secretary, two deputy secretaries, three secretaries and one treasurer.
The Maoist Centre held its general convention from December 26 to January 2 in Kathmandu. Though the party was initially planning to hold just a “national conference,” it was changed into a convention at the last moment.
Despite criticism from among the delegates, Dahal’s 45-page political document was endorsed unanimously. Some delegates had presented their differing views on Dahal’s document, saying the chairman had failed to make it clear how the party would move forward.
Dahal’s document “Nepal’s Road to Socialism in the 21st Century” talks at length about various issues, including environment and climate change—but delegates told the Post over the past few days that there was confusion as to how the party indeed wants to achieve socialism.
A delegate told the Post last week achieving socialism is not possible through “peaceful means” as claimed by Dahal. Another delegate, Lekhnath Neupane, had questioned the party chair’s extravagant lifestyle.
Dahal has been leading the party for over three decades now—uncontested.
The Maoists launched their “people’s war” in 1996 under Dahal’s leadership. The war ended in 2006 with a peace deal. Since then, the Maoist party, according to insiders, has lost its way, failing to devise a proper guiding principle in the changed context. Despite emerging as the largest party in 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, the Maoist party badly lost 2013 elections and was relegated to a distant third.
The Maoist Centre merged with the CPN-UML in May 2018 to form the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) after the two communist forces swept the 2017 elections.
However, it did not take long for a tussle to start between the two chairs–Dahal and KP Sharma Oli–of the party.
After months of infighting, Oli, the then prime minister, dissolved the House of Representatives on December 20, 2020. The Supreme Court restored it on February 23 last year and a month later on March 7, it invalidated the Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
Dahal got his Maoist party back.
His party is now a key coalition partner in the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government, which was formed on July 13 last year as per a Supreme Court order a day before in which it not only overturned Oli’s second House dissolution but also threw the UML chair out of office.
Delegates say Dahal’s election as chair again once shows his firm grip on the party, regardless of the amount of criticism levelled at him.
On Monday, after his re-election, Dahal said that a big responsibility has come to him once again.
“I am feeling a big responsibility on me,” said Dahal while addressing the Central Committee meeting. “I feel indebted to the people and the country standing here after taking the oath again [as party chair] as I have been in leadership for a long time.”