Bhattarai boycotts Maoist prog amid leadership row speculation

Top Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai has boycotted a key party function, fuelling speculation of a growing rift with party supremo Prachanda over the issue of leadership of the ultra-left organisation.

Last Updated: Jan 18, 2011, 21:40 PM IST

Kathmandu: Top Maoist leader Baburam
Bhattarai has boycotted a key party function, fuelling
speculation of a growing rift with party supremo Prachanda
over the issue of leadership of the ultra-left organisation.

56-year-old Bhattarai, the Vice-Chairman of United
Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-Maoists), boycotted the
nationwide campaign to spread awareness among leaders about
recent events and the party position on the political deadlock
in the country.

Top Maoists leaders, including party chairman
Prachanda, vice-chairmen Mohan Baidya and Narayan Kaji
Shrestha, were present at the campaign for its Regional Bureau
Members (RBM) and district members to inform them of the
recent decision of the powerful central committee.

However, Bhattarai boycotted the programme as the
party did not included his proposals.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the party`s decision
of not including his proposals during the training session,
Bhattarai decided to boycott the campaign, Nepalnews online
reported.

Earlier, the party`s central committee meeting had
decided to float Bhattarai`s plan to all district and regional
cadres for the discussion, the report said.

"It is natural that Bhattarai boycotted the programme
as his proposal was not included in the schedule," Maoist
leader Tap Bahadur Rayamajhi was quoted as saying in the
report.

According to the myrepublic online, the website of
Republica daily, Bhattarai boycotted the Maosits` programme in
a clear manifestation of brewing intra-party turmoil.

It said Bhattarai boycotted the programme after the
party supremo turned down his request to let him read out his
dissenting note in the closed-door training that saw the
participation of over 5,000 cadres from the Maoists -Newa,
Tamsaling and Kathmandu special states.

After Prachanda finished his speech, party leader
Hisila Yamai, who is also the wife of Bhattarai, forced her
way to the podium, but was not allowed to speak as the
microphone was switched off, myrepublica said.

"I requested them to let me speak, but they did not.

So, I shouted from the stage: Long live internal democracy,"
she was quoted as saying in the report.

It has fuelled speculation of a major rift over the
leadership issue in the main Opposition party.

Till now the Maoists have projected Prachanda as the
only Prime Ministerial candidate.

Now there is growing pressure within the party to
suggest his deputy Bhattarai`s name as an alternative after
the Maoist chief`s failure to get majority support in
Parliament seven times in a row, forcing him to quit the race
on September 17.

Moreover, even as the main parties have refused to
support the party supremo`s candidature, many have suggested
Bhattarai as a consensus candidate.

PTI