KATHMANDU, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Nepal's UCPN (Maoist) party, which suffered an unexpected loss in last year's Constituent Assembly (CA) election, is wracked by internal squabbling, which diminished its role in the national politics, according to party insiders.
There are some serious differences between the two top leaders of the party, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and Senior Leader Baburam Bhattarai, both led the 10-year long insurgency that successfully overthrew the monarchy.
Another senior leader, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, is dissatisfied with both Prachanda and Bhattarai, saying that the party has adopted a soft stance regarding the Indian interference in Nepal's internal affairs.
After its meeting last month, the party's Central Committee decided to hold the party's national convention from May 1 to rebuild the party organization but Bhattarai did not agree to the idea. He said the party must first settle the ideological issues within the party before holding a general convention.
It has been just a year since the party held its general convention where it adopted the party's current ideology. But a large number of leaders and cadres are not satisfied with the current ideology, saying that it led the party to defeat in the election.
Bhattarai, a former prime minister, is of the view that there is serious ideological crisis inside the party and the party should redefine its ideology to revive its strength and regain the people's trust.
"In the communist party it is obvious that ideology guides the party's organizational structure. So we have to first settle the ideological issue," Central Committee member Kumar Poudel, who is close to Prachanda, told Xinhua.
Some leaders identified with Bhattarai spoke to Xinhua on condition of anonymity, saying that Prachanda is running the party unilaterally without consultations with the other leaders.
They said that the chairman did not raise the issue of respectable power-sharing in the government and constitution drafting process with other parties.
"Our presence in the national politics is decreasing because of the intra-party feud and our leaders cannot collectively bargain with other parties," said one party official.
But officials close to Prachanda have complained that it is Bhattarai who is not cooperating with the party leadership in order for the party to be effective.
The Bhattarai faction has stepped up pressure for Prachanda to step down as party chairman and this has soured the relationship between two top party leaders.
"We have to form a new political force in the country and the party leadership should be handed to new generation of leaders," Bhattarai said in his lengthy article in a vernacular magazine. In the informal meetings with his supporters, Bhattarai has also said that there is a need of the formation of new party to save the communist movement in Nepal.
Along with the intra-party problem, party presence in the national political scene is gradually decreasing. In the overall power sharing, the UCPN (Maoist) just secured the vice- chairmanship of CA, a ceremonial post.
The party has been demanding for a leading position in the constitution drafting process but it is not sure if the party can get its way. The party had earlier asked for the chairmanship of the CA as part of a power-sharing scheme in the constitution drafting process.
There are also some suggestions for the party to make some efforts in inviting the breakaway CPN-Maoist back to its fold but due to differences among its leaders, there is little hope that this will prosper.
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