Maoist hardliners want Prachanda to quit as party chiefOctober 7th, 2008 - 3:39 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, Oct 7 (IANS) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” created history by becoming the first revolutionary chief in Nepal to oust the powerful king and become the head of government. Now, however, it is the turn of the prime minister to face a revolt.The challenge comes from his own formerly underground Maoist party whose hawks are asking him to quit his post as chairman of the party.
When he took oath of office last month, Prachanda quit his other post as supreme commander of the party’s guerrilla army - the People’s Liberation Army, in obedience to the call by the international community as well as Nepal’s mainstream parties that an armed force chief could not lead a civilian government.
Now, the hardliners in the Maoist party itself are demanding that the prime minister also quit the position of party chairman following the one man-one post principle that indicates the same individual should not hold two executive posts simultaneously.
The hawks are led by Mohan Vaidya “Kiran”, a senior member of the party who was chosen chief of the party organisation by the Maoist secretariat after Prachanda’s election as PM.
There are growing ideological differences between the camps of Prachanda and Kiran, with the latter feeling that the party, once inspired by revolutionary beliefs, is deviating from those principles.
The dissidents are also demanding a national convention of the party to discuss its future plans, like strategies to form a future government on its own.
The Maoists, who remained an underground party till mid-2006, have not held a national convention for almost a decade, which in a way allowed Prachanda to continue leading it unchallenged.
However, now with the central committee of the party, comprising its top leaders, having begun deliberations last week, Prachanda is facing a demand for stepping down as party chairman.
While the rest of the country is revelling in festivities, this week is going to be crucial for the party, indicating the shape of things to come.