Sunday, July 08, 2012

Spinning On A Convenient Contrivance?

When Mohan Baidya and Pushpa Kamal Dahal met over the weekend for their first one-on-one after the party split, the Maoist honchos ostensibly grappled with the greater difficulty of the managing the aftermath.
The two leaders discussed, among other things, ways of controlling clashes between their respective supporters in different parts of the nation. They also sought to resolve the raging dispute over the ownership of party offices.
The talks took place against an escalating war of words between the two Maoist factions. Baidya has ceaselessly accused Dahal and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai of surrendering to the diktats of the Indians, an allegation that has gone some way toward fraying the already uneasy ties between Dahal and Bhattarai.
Yet the two men of the Maoist establishment remain no less energetic in suggesting that the Baidya split was engineered by New Delhi and that the new organization is doing the bidding of the Indians. (The assertion that U.S.-based Revolutionary Internationalist Movement engineered the split draws Uncle Sam – and who knows who else – closer to the row.)
The rivals’ surrogates have been more ferocious in their rhetoric. Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’, general secretary of the Baidya-led party, accused the Dahal-Bhattarai combine of plotting to set a bounty on leaders of the new organization. Badal went on to equate Dahal and Bhattarai with Adolph Hitler.
Before that outburst, several members of the Dahal-led organization have indicated they might resurrect the ‘scandalous’ and ‘salacious’ charge against Badal the Maoists had hushed up years ago.
As the name-calling between the rival revolutionaries worsens, more and more Nepalis have begun wondering how they could have been so naïve as to expect the Maoists to escape that great bane of our politics called division and factionalism.
Our gullibility runs far deeper. The unity the Maoists appeared to project during their years of adversity turned out to be contrived. S.D. Muni, one of the original patrons of the Nepali Maoists, concedes that official New Delhi had begun wooing the rebels in 2002. The C.P. Gajurel and Mohan Baidya arrests in Chennai and Silguri respectively, according to Muni, were just outcomes of the Indian intelligence agencies working at cross-purpose.
Considering that this was also the time New Delhi increased military, diplomatic and political support to the royal regime to suppress the insurgency, Maila Baje believes India’s Maoist policy merely mirrored the broader double-game it has perfected as Nepal policy.
With the post-April 2006 juggernaut rolling ahead full steam, Baidya and Gajurel faced dwindling options. So they let the Indians project their release from detention as a quid pro quo for the Dahal-Bhattarai group’s acquiescence in peaceful and democratic politics. Regardless of the extent of their revulsion for the Dahal-Bhattarai enterprise, the Baidya-Gajurel group could not mount a formal split because of its disadvantageous numbers in the constituent assembly. Instead, they worked to increase their strength within the party malcontents for the denouement. With the demise of the assembly, the party eventually split.
Netra Bikram Chand, a key Baidya loyalist, insisted the other day that China was against the Maoist split. That was his way of warding off accusations that Beijing had somehow engineered the split. Yet Ai Ping, the visiting South Asia point man in the Chinese Communist Party, virtually conferred Beijing’s blessings on the Baidya group, complete with an invitation to the leader.
The geopolitical conundrum surrounding the Maoist split is reflected in one manifestation of the local variant. Baidya concedes the possibility of a party reunification. And Bhattarai and Dahal acknowledge the possibility of resurrecting the constituent assembly, a proposition that has adherents in the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal-UML.
All this forces you wonder whether Dahal-Bhattarai group conveniently dissolved the constituent assembly only to facilitate the Maoist split, with the other major parties’ connivance, for some murky end. How much faster is your head spinning now?