By Dr. Chandrasekharan.
As expected, the extended sixth plenum of UCPN (M) at Palungtar, witnessed “India bashing” with the chairman Prachanda taking the lead in his political report to the plenum.
In the report, Prachanda said . . . “conspirators, foreign stooges, domestic feudalism and Indian expansionism have become our principal enemy today. We should be ready for a people’s revolt . . . to fight against possible foreign intervention ( read India).”
It is not clear why Prachanda decided to make a frontal attack on India particularly after he admitted soon after his return from Shanghai in the last week of October that he had been advised by the Chinese to “make up with India.” He had also hinted that he had already got in touch with the political leaders in India and that he would go to India soon after the plenum with the same objective. ( See update 236).
One charitable interpretation could be that in order to survive in the face of severe criticism within the party circles of his leadership and in mishandling that has resulted in his party being out of power for nearly a year and a half, he had to show to his party cadres that he could be tough and unbending towards India.
It is seen that some emissaries from India with or without “official blessings” are in Nepal to explain India’s stand and perhaps are taking/preparing a conciliatory approach towards the Maoists. If this is so, it will be most unfortunate and it is time India stops countenancing the usual trend seen in Nepal of “public humiliation and private appeasement.”
The Plenum lasted for seven days with the participation of over 7000 cadres of whom over a thousand were from the PLA camps. Technically, the PLA cadres being under the jurisdiction of the special committee on supervision, integration and rehabilitation of the Maoists combatants, cannot attend any political meetings without express permission and it would amount to a breach of the agreement on the monitoring of the management of arms and armies and of the comprehensive peace agreement. The UNMIN Representative Landgren has already written to Dahal to adhere to the obligations agreed to under the agreements. But the Maoists appeared to be unmindful of the repercussions.
In the press conference that followed the plenum, Prachanda declared that they will be holding “serious talks” with other major parties in the parliament to conclude the peace process and write a new constitution!
In the plenum itself, Mohan Baidya as expected declared that he has no faith in the peace process and that the party should push for an immediate revolt.
The political line that has been accepted is that the party will simultaneously push for peace process, constitution and revolt. There is a contradiction here as pushing for a revolt cannot go hand in hand with the peace process. .
It has been claimed by the party sources that the plenum has strengthened ‘party unity’ which actually means that the differences have been papered over. India has perhaps not been declared formally as the main enemy or the contradiction.
It looks that the party, despite seven days of heated discussions could not decide on a definite line and the final report appears to be one that has taken all the three courses suggested by the three leaders Prachanda, Mohan Baidya and Dr. Baburam Bhattarai together as a temporary patchwork!.
The important result of the plenum is that Prachanda has retained his leadership and in order to retain his position, he may continue with his India bashing at least outwardly! .