Indian Maoists to interact with Nepali counterparts in June

May 31st, 2008 - 8:26 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) Indian Maoists, waging an armed struggle for over 40 years to establish a “classless society”, and leading intellectuals of West Bengal would get a chance to hear about the virtues of ballot-over-bullet from Nepal’s Maoist leaders when they meet in Kolkata June 23. The Maoists in Nepal scored a historic victory in the constituent assembly elections in April. They are now heading the interim government that is tasked with writing a new constitution for Nepal following the abolition of monarchy.

Baburam Bhattarai, number two in the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist’s pecking order after Prachanda, will lead a delegation to Kolkata - considered India’s ‘Left bastion’ -to formally engage with the Naxalites and other Left parties.

Surprisingly, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front, which has been ruling West Bengal for the past three decades, has been left out of this engagement.

“The delegation led by Baburam Bhattarai will arrive in Kolkata on June 22. They will be our guests for two days,” Amitabha Bhattacharya of the Mazdoor Kranti Parishad told IANS on phone from Kolkata.

A number of leading intellectuals, including Ashok Mitra, Aparna Sen, Shaoli Mitra and Sukumari Bhattacharya, would be invited to participate in the interactive session with Bhattarai June 23.

The Parishad, along with 12 other Left groups in India, has formed the Solidarity Initiative for the Revolutionary Struggle of Nepal, dominated largely by various Naxalite factions. They include the CPI-Marxist Leninist (New Democracy), CPI-ML (State Organising Committee), CPI-ML (Provincial Coordination Committee), CPI-ML (Jana Shakti), CPI-ML (Naxalbari), and CPI-ML (Liberation).

Some other Left parties like the Gana Mukti Sangram, Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists, the Workers’ Party, and the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) are also part of the Solidarity Initiative.

The Gana Pratirodh Mancha - a frontal organisation of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) is also taking part in the forthcoming dialogue between Nepal’s Maoists and Indian Left parties.

Initially, the Naxalites had thought of organising a public rally at Shahid Minar - the famous martyr’s column in the heart of Kolkata. But now the interactive session and the ceremony to felicitate the honoured guests from Nepal would be held at the Calcutta University’s Institute Hall.

It was, however, not clarified whether possible “inclement weather” or political exigency forced the organisers to hold the programme indoors.

In an interview given to the CPI-M Bengali mouthpiece Gana Shakti, which was published Friday, Bhattarai has made it clear that he was coming to Kolkata on the invitation of the Naxalites and the not the ruling Left Front.

However, that does not rule out the possibility of the Nepal Maoist leader from calling on West Bengal chief minister and CPI-M leader Buddhadev Bhattacharjee before his departure from the city June 24.

“Bhattarai and his delegation will be our guest for two days. Their meetings and programmes after that is not really part of our programme,” Amitabh Bhattacharya said.

The Maoists’ decision to accept the invitation from the Naxalites, ignoring the CPI-M led Left Front, had caused some heartburn both in Nepal and in India. Sitaram Yechury, CPI-M’s politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP had made several trips to Kathmandu in the past two years to bring about a rapprochement between the Indian government and Nepal’s Maoists.

Reports about Bhattarai’s visit to Kolkata had sparked off a controversy and there were reports in the Nepali media that most of the Left groups, including the Naxalites, were boycotting the function organised by the Mazdoor Kranti Parishad along with a few others. A serious effort began afterwards to rope in a large number of other Naxalite groups and Left parties who were outside the Left Front.

“The need for a proper unity of the left forces in the country is much needed,” Amitabh Bhattacharya said.

He pointed out that serious attempts were made to bring in groups who had major political differences to the Solidarity Initiative. The fact that most Left parties in India and elsewhere in the world have hailed the victory of the Maoists in Nepal made it easy for the Parishad to get the other Left parties together.

“Perhaps this is the first step in that direction,” Amitabh Bhattacharya added.

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