Draft statute of Maoist Centre aims to trim party committeesJanardan Sharma’s proposal calls for picking party leadership through a vote.
The ruling CPN (Maoist Centre) is preparing to streamline its party structures by downsizing various committees.
Despite the party being reduced to distant third in terms of its parliamentary representation, it has an oversized central committee with over 600 members.
A draft statute of the party currently under discussion at the party’s provincial, district, local unit and ward levels aims to trim the central committee to 151 members. The size of the politburo would be reduced to one third the central committee while the standing committee would be one third of the politburo if the proposed provisions are endorsed.
A seven-member statute drafting committee led by party vice-chair Pambha Bhusal had last week presented the draft statute in the standing committee. General Secretary Dev Prasad Gurung, deputy general secretaries Giriraj Mani Pokharel, Barsha Man Pun and Janardan Sharma and secretaries Ganesh Shah and Surendra Karki are members of the committee. “Party committees have been asked to submit their written feedback on the draft statute by February 7,” said Shah. The statute would be further discussed in the three-day statute convention scheduled to start on February 13 in Kathmandu.
As many as 1,300 representatives of the party from across the country will participate in the national gathering that will finalise the party statute, which sets the party's future political course.
As per the draft statute the chairperson would be the party supremo, but the Maoist Centre will also follow the principle of collective leadership. It envisions that there would be a senior vice-chair, vice-chair, general secretary, deputy general secretary, secretary and treasurer. However, it doesn’t specify their numbers. Led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the party currently has 15-member office bearers.
If the statute gets endorsed there will be 49 percent reservation for the marginalised and underprivileged communities in all party committees. There is 45 percent reservation for such groups in the constitution.
The draft statute envisions 35 percent women representations in all party structures. Similarly, only those who are with the party for 10 years can become representatives for the general convention.
The provincial committees will be 125-strong with nine-member office bearers while the party will have 99-member district committees.
As the Maoist Centre's general convention held in December 2021 was solely focused on selecting the party leadership, there was an agreement among the leaders to hold a separate convention to discuss and endorse the party statute.
However, it took more than two years for the party to fix a date for the special general convention. The party’s central committee meeting in August had decided to hold the statute convention by mid-December and the special general convention six months later. It was delayed by two months.
While the seven-member committee submitted the draft statute unanimously, Sharma has also presented a proposal outlining a set of suggestions. Sharma’s proposal mainly focuses on the selection process of the party leadership. Of late, he has been calling for change in leadership in the party saying the new generation should get the opportunity to lead the party.
Dahal continues to lead the Maoist party for over three decades now. Similarly, he has been monopolising the selection of the other office bearers. Sharma and Pun were the main contenders for general secretary’s position in the previous general convention. However, the post was given to Gurung by Dahal months after the conclusion of the general convention. The party has never gone for election to select the party leadership. Sharma’s proposal aims to pick leadership through a vote.
“The party hasn’t decided on whether or not Sharma’s proposal gets tabled in the statute convention,” said a senior party leader. Some party leaders have started voicing that there must be a special general convention to select the party leadership within six months after the statute convention.