Drawing a line

The CPN-Maoist’s sixth national cadres’ meeting now in progress has set many speculating about the future course of the country’s largest political party, which has come to lead the government for the first time, making many uneasy about it, and also somewhat doubtful about Maoist motives. The two separate political documents put forward by two top party leaders — chairman Prachanda and senior politburo member Mohan Baidya ‘kiran’ appear to have strengthened doubters in their view that the Maoists’ internal dissension may grow worse, so much so that it might eventually lead to a party split. In a country where communist

parties have split up just over the meaning of a word, apart from personality clashes, a measure of doubt may be understandable. There are also those who see in a possible Maoist break-up a political opportunity.

But, given that the Maoists have come so far, with the benefit of experiences and lessons of the past, it will probably be too risky to read too much into the presentation of two different

proposals. For a party that is in the process of change — from its original Maoist orthodoxy to the practical realities of the present-day world — differences over the party’s present and future courses of action are quite natural. The CPN-UML, too, has undergone a similar process

in the past, for instance, the lines represented by People’s Multiparty Democracy and New People’s Democracy. As the country is still in political transition, everything has not shaped up fully, and there are doubts and apprehensions among the Maoists, too, that it might be unwise

for them to jettison too many things in too short a time.

For the Maoists, bringing the peace process to a logical conclusion must also give them a feeling that the ten-year-long People’s War has also been brought to a logical conclusion. The question of how best to achieve this has led to internal differences of opinion, as Maoist leaders have been saying that the revolution has entered a ‘crucial phase’. Among the differences is ‘People’s Republic’ v ‘Democratic Republic’. Kiran has advocated the former, but Prachanda, the latter. The difference also appears to centre on what the party’s strategic line should be. Some in the CPN-M also see a design behind PLA integration – to disintegrate it by trying to send them on foreign employment, by sending them home, or by giving them some other jobs. A school of opinion in the CPN-M still appears to favour armed rebellion, a

‘revolutionary line’. The current peaceful process , according to them, is tending to push the party more and more to ‘revisionism’. But leaders on either side are pragmatists; they are not expected to go too far down a road that their progress may be impossible because of domestic and international dynamics. It would be more logical, therefore, to expect something

of a synthesis, because this line alone promises to be the most sensible, for the Maoists, too. For the non-Maoists, as long as the Maoists remain faithful to the commitments they have made since the 12-point political understanding, there will be little to worry about.