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Power-sharing divides Nepal Maoists

Five years after they laid down arms to join mainstream politics, Maoists in Nepal are facing a crisis due to sharp differences among senior leaders over power sharing. Utpal Parashar reports.

world Updated: Jul 13, 2011 01:37 IST
Utpal Parashar

Five years after they laid down arms to join mainstream politics, Maoists in Nepal are facing a crisis due to sharp differences among senior leaders over power sharing.

Party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ is battling to maintain his dictatorial hold while two vice chairmen, Baburam Bhattarai and Mohan Baidya want him to devolve some of his power.

Rising tension among the factions is expected to reach a crescendo on Wednesday, when the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) central committee is slated to convene.

Prachanda is expected to table a political document on the roadmap to complete the peace process and draft the new constitution within the extended August 31 deadline.

But the Bhattarai and Baidya factions are threatening to block discussions on the two key issues unless their demand for power sharing within the party is addressed first.

Prachanda heads all three segments — the military wing, the party structure and the parliamentary wing.

Bhattarai wants to head the party’s parliamentary wing while Baidya seeks control over the party organisation.

Both factions want senior leader Ram Bahadur Thapa to head the military wing responsible for 19,000 former People’s Liberation Army combatants living in cantonments since 2006.