Maoists gearing up for collective leadership

KATHMANDU: After practising centralised leadership, ideal for underground politics, United CPN-Maoist is now gearing up for collective leadership before

the national convention to be held after some 18 years. The Maoists’ leadership is structured on what is practised in China. They gave up the the earlier practice of general secretarial system, where the general secretary used to be the most powerful.

The thinking in the party is that decentralisation of power at the top has become a must due to the increase in the size of the party, following the amalgamation with other parties and defection of leaders and cadres of the other parties. This proposal would be tabled at the central committee, the most powerful body of the party, for approval.

The CC will finalise whether the party should go for collective leadership right away or wait for the national convention to be held after six months. In the present system of leadership the chairman Prachanda is all powerful. “The party had been adopting collective leadership since it went for the Chinese leadership structure, however, the power was

centralised in the chairman due to the circumstances that the

party was going through,” said Giriraj Mani Pokhrel, one of the secretariat members.

Currently the party’s headquarters is led by chairman Prachanda and includes other influential leaders — Dr Baburam Bhattarai, Badal, Prakash and Kiran — besides a 16-member secretariat, 45-member politburo and 137-member central committee, following the merger with CPN Unity-Centre Masal and CPN Ml-revolutionary. Pokhrel says the party has to adopt collective leadership, as it has grown in stature and size and needs top leaders to share power. “UCPN-Maoist is no more an underground party and has to look after many vital issues,” he said, adding that the party believes that the team spirit would be strengthened once the party adopts collective leadership. The party now has many responsibilities in comparison to underground days.

In addition to distributing portfolios to the central leaders, the party will also pin responsibilities on 138 leaders in the central committee. The secretariat meeting has already finalised the amendment in the existing statute of the party to incorporate changes in the articles that contradict with the collective leadership.

According to the leaders, the party is set to impart intensive training to the lower level cadres as soon as the central committee meeting concludes. The cadres will be sensitised about the present political situation and the party’s strategy to move ahead.