Prachanda’s leadership questioned by Nepal Maoists

November 18th, 2008 - 4:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Nov 18 (IANS) Ahead of a critical meeting of the formerly guerrilla Maoist party starting Thursday, which is expected to have a strong impact on the ongoing peace process and the drafting of a new constitution by 2010, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s leadership is being challenged by the hawks in the party.On Thursday, the national convention of the top leaders of the party will kick off in the capital, the first in over a decade.

The crucial meeting will see the Maoists, who opted to lay down arms and join competitive politics two years ago, decide their future strategy that will in turn have an impact on Nepal’s national politics.

Ahead of the meet, the members of the powerful central committee of the party began holding dialogues from Monday to decide the internal policies.

However, the political doctrine tabled by Prachanda, which calls for a competitive democratic republic, is being opposed by the hardliners in the party who want to found a communist “people’s republic” in Nepal along the lines of the Chinese republic with a monolithic ruling party and the state controlling all enterprises.

The leader of the rebels within the Maoist party, Mohan Vaidya Kiran, also tabled a separate political statement on his own.

This is the second time that Kiran has crossed swords with Prachanda this year. The clash brought to the fore the new growing divide in the Maoist party.

Party leaders said they were doing homework Tuesday to try to patch up the differences and reach a pact Wednesday, ahead of the key meeting.

Kiran, who was also a member of the newly elected constituent assembly, resigned recently saying he would need time to devote to his new status as the party’s organisational chief.

There is mounting pressure on Prachanda to quit his position as chairman of the party since he is also prime minister and, according to party rules, should not hold two positions simultaneously.

Before taking oath of office as prime minister in August, Prachanda, who had led a 10-year armed revolt as supreme commander of the guerrilla People’s Liberation Army, had to relinquish his military post after deepening objections by Nepal’s other political parties and the international community.

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