Nepali Maoists postpone national convention

October 31st, 2008 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Oct 31 (IANS) Amidst speculations of a widening rift among its top leaders, Nepal’s ruling Maoist party Friday said its much-awaited national convention has been postponed.The meeting of the central committee of the party, that has not been held for over a decade, was earlier scheduled from Nov 10.

However, it will now be held from Nov 20-25, the party’s foreign affairs chief Chandra Prakash Gajurel said Friday.

The crucial meeting is expected to be stormy with the hardliners in the party challenging party chairman and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s leadership and policies.

An earlier political report tabled by Prachanda before the party was not endorsed.

Instead, the leader of the rival faction, Mohan Vaidya “Kiran”, had presented a separate report of his own.

The November meeting could also decide if the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) will keep its Maoist tag or drop it to become the CPN in a bid to allay the international community’s fear that it is no longer an armed party that believes in seizing political power through the gun.

While Prachanda favours dropping Mao, Kiran is opposing it tooth and nail, saying that Mao is no mere tag but integral to the identity of the party.

Gajurel, however, denied the allegations that the convention had been postponed due to the infighting in the party.

He said the long debates in parliament over the budget tabled by the government had caused the programme to be shelved.

The rescheduled convention virtually rules out a second visit to India by Prachanda.

The PM, who had last year addressed a leadership summit hosted by the Hindustan Times daily, had agreed to address it this year too.

But the new dates of the convention indicate he would have to drop out.

If he had gone, it would have been his second visit to India in November. Prachanda is attending the three-day BIMSTEC summit in New Delhi from Nov 11.

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