Beijing: After a brief lull following the sacking of Chinese Communist Party leader Bo Xilai, the power struggle within the party has come to fore with a group of veterans asking President Hu Jintao to sack a top ranking leader for supporting Bo and trying to revive Mao Zedong's ideology.
A group of veteran Communist Party of China (CPC) members have written to Hu asking for the sacking of leading politician Zhou Yongkang, who is the ninth member of the all powerful Standing Committee of politburo of the party, which rules the country, BBC reported.
Zhou is in-charge of internal security.
In an open letter to Hu, who is also the party's general secretary, the veterans alleged that Zhou is part of a movement to revive the China of Mao's ideology which was discarded by CPC after the death of the revolutionary leader in 1976.
Speculation has been growing about the future of Zhou since the downfall of Bo Xilai, head of the Chongqing municipality who tried to revive Mao's thoughts.
While he was sacked last month and was being investigated for indiscipline, his wife, Gu Kailai has been arrested in connection with the murder of a British citizen.
Zhou's episode came to the fore ahead of this year's Party congress where the new leaders would be selected to replace Hu, Premier Wen Jiabao and other top leaders.
The letter urges the President to sack Zhou from his post as head of China's police force, its courts and its spy network.
Some of the veteran party members who wrote the note joined the Chinese communists before they took power in 1949.
The rumours were rife in Beijing for awhile that Zhou has been locked in a power struggle. This is the first time that his name came out in open.
But one of the authors of the letter, Yu Yongqing, told the BBC that they had received hundreds of calls of support, and some threatening ones.
Yu, who held a senior position in the party in the city of Zhaotong in Yunnan province, said Zhou had to go because of his support for Bo.
"Bo confessed that he has received support from Zhou Yongkang. Zhou also helped him to make contact with various central party departments," said Yu.
The letter seems to warn about the dangers of reviving an interest in Chairman Mao and his policies. It stresses the danger China faces from such things as corruption and the inequality of wealth without political reform.
For weeks there has been speculation about the future of Zhou. There has been no official comment, but this letter shows there is some concern about Zhou within the party.
The letter also calls for the sacking of Liu Yunshan, the head of the party's propaganda department. He has been tipped for promotion later this year when the party holds a once-in-a-decade reshuffle of its top leaders.
First Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 21:49