Interview in Telegraph Nepal with Dr Rishi Raj Baral - India maneuvering Baidya camp through Mahara
Picture : Dr Rishi Raj Baral
Dr. Rishi Raj Baral, a veteran literary expert and Marxist critique, is affiliated with the Unified Maoist party. He is the Vice Chairman of Ichchhuk Cultural Academy chaired by Senior Vice Chairman of Unified Maoist, Mr. Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’. He is also the Chief Editor of Samayabaddha-a magazine published in vernacular Nepali language and The Next Front, an online magazine. Dr. Baral, a close associate and strong supporter of Vice Chairman Baidya represents the hardliner faction led by the Kiran.
Sujit Mainali for The Telegraph Weekly and its online edition telegraphnepal.com talked to this firebrand communist scholar on several aspects of intra-party rift that his party is plagued with right now and his party’s relations with the Indian regime. Below the excerpts of his exclusive interview: Chief Editor
Q1: When did you meet Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ very recently?
Dr. Baral: Two days ago (January 11, 2012). We were together at a meeting organized by Ichchhuk Cultural Academy to discuss about its future course of actions.
Q2: Do you find any changes in him that day?
Dr. Baral: I found him pretty optimist towards the latest political development observed in our party. Chairman Prachanda has exhibited his leaning towards the political course floated and strongly advocated by Mohan Baidya some days ago. However, during my conversation with Baidya, I cautioned him not to take Prachanda’s commitment at its face value. He had betrayed us after Kharipati meeting and the Palungtar plenum and therefore we cannot simply trust the verbal assurances of Chairman Prachanda.
I found Baidya very serious towards my observations. He, in an implied manner, hinted that if Prachanda once again duped us, then our political course will be different forever and stones will be left unturned to allow Prachanda to cooperate with us once again.
Q3: Can you tell us what he said during the conversation?
Dr. Baral: He told me that Prachanda has committed to follow the political line chartered by Palungtar plenum. He also has exhibited commitment towards the installment of People’s Federal Republic, drafting of People’s Constitution and staging of People’s Revolt, if need be. Baidya informed me that Prachanda too had agreed to ask for the resignation of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai as well. I found him optimist towards Chairman Prachanda assurance.
Q4:Some days ago, it was widely rumored that Unified Maoist party was on the verge of a vertical split. But now, the intraparty wrangling has been settled down, we have been told, in a dramatic manner. Don’t you think it sounds absurd? How can you say that the internal rift inside your party is not a mere drama staged in a calculated manner to hoodwink the opponent(s)?
Dr. Baral: I don’t think that the dispute has been settled down inside the party. I still suspect on the very intention of Chairman Dahal. He is very cunning and avaricious person and he is also a smart conspirator as well. I think he has come closer with the Baidya again to regain his waning hold inside the party structure.
In the previous Central Committee (CC) meeting, Prachanda saw the CC members from his own panel supporting Mohan Baidya on several issues including calling back Bhattarai from government, returning back the properties of feudals previously captured by the party during civil war, etc. Chairman Dahal rightly acknowledged that if the same situation prevails longer, then the Baidya camp will soon become dominant in the entire party structure very soon. Hence, in a hasty manner, he came closer to Baidya.
But I don’t think Prachanda and Baidya are united on ideological grounds. They have made some compromise(s) for short term only. Baidya too does not believe that Prachanda is fully committed towards the Nepali revolution and Nepali nationalism.
Q5:Mr. Baral, you mean to say that sharp differences still exist in between Prachanda and Baidya panel?
Dr. Baral: Hundred percent Yes! Some days ago, the rift inside the party was very intense and had attained a new height. It was largely supposed that the Unified Maoists was going to split within a few days. But now the issues have been settled down temporarily. It may sound absurd, however this is the reality.
Q6: Why such unusual events happen inside your party very frequently? Can you please explain its real cause, if you can?
Dr. Baral: The sub-faction existing inside the Baidya camp is responsible for this situation.
There are two groups inside the Baidya panel. One group wants to bring back Chairman Prachanda to the revolutionary line while the other group thinks it as a futile effort. The latter group believes that Prachanda has already become a revisionist and rightist-opportunist. This group dreams to reorganize the revolutionary party and wants to begin the revolution again from the grassroots level. Whenever the second sub-faction inside the Baidya camp become influential and comes to surface, it looks as if party is going to split within some days.
Q7: Can you please name some leaders who represent the hardliner sub-faction inside the Baidya panel?
Dr. Baral: Let me not disclose their names. I am extremely sorry for this. My ethics doesn’t allow me.
Some leaders and members of Constituent Assembly (CA) from the Baidya panel too have begun living a lavish lifestyle. Therefore, they are opposing the idea of staging revolt against the party leadership immediately, fearing that they may lose the material benefits which they are enjoying right now.
If the CA gets dissolved, then the Unified Maoist party will witness the vertical split within a week. This is for sure and rest assured.
There is another class inside the Baidya panel which is harshly suppressed and marginalized by the party’s upper echelon leadership. This class is more revolutionary. This class, which encompasses the overwhelming majority of the party cadres, is urging for reorganizing the party in order to make it more vibrant one and revolutionary in real sense.
Q8: Do you think that the Unified Maoist will split eventually?
Dr. Baral: I prefer to use the word ‘reorganizing the party’ rather than using the notion of ‘splitting the party’. I strongly believe that the Maoist party will be reorganized sooner than later. The leaders with reactionary, revisionist, rightist and perfidious tendencies should be immediately expelled from the party. Action should be taken against the traitors and the puppet of Indian expansionism. Earlier the better. If this does not happen, then the Baidya panel itself will see a vertical split. Take it for granted.
Q9: How strong the Baidya Panel is inside the party? Can you guess?
Dr. Baral: If Vice-Chairman duo Bhattarai and Narayan Kaji Shrestha ‘Prakash’ withdraw their support from the Prachanda panel, then the Baidya camp will be the strongest faction in the whole party structure, including the Steering Committee, Central Committee, Politburo, parliamentary front and State Committee.
There are about 92 out of 238 parliamentarians of our party who strongly adhere to the revolutionary political line floated by Mohan Baidya. Out of 142 members of the Central Committee (CC), 55 members are the declared adherents of our panel. While talking about the military wing of our party, the Division Commanders have been made avarice and corrupt by Chairman Dahal. Besides them, the Deputy Division Commanders and other members of Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) settled in middle and lower rung strongly adhere to the revolutionary political line. Baidya panel has strongest hold in Shaktikhor, Holeri, Dahaban and Western Division of the PLA. Apart from this, the party cadres and leaders who had fought Civil War are all with us. The newcomers who swarmed inside our party very recently for fulfilling their vested interests are with Prachanda. Baidya panel is very strong on ideological, cultural and military fronts of the party. Dr. Bhattarai’s influence in PLA is almost cipher.
Q10: How much optimist are you towards the ongoing political development happening inside the country?
Dr. Baral: Nepali nationalism is now under serious threat. National economy is becoming fragile and weak associated with a slide. Political courses of Kathmandu are being chartered in Washington and largely in New Delhi. Chinese sensitivities are being largely ignored.
Situation is not so good. If we need to strengthen our sovereignty, empower the Nepali population and boost the Nepali economy, the revolutionaries and nationalists should dissociate themselves from the rightist and the traitors.
Q11: Dr. Baral, you made quite interesting remarks. Can you please shed some more light on the maneuvering of alien forces in the politics of Nepal?
Dr. Baral: Indian expansionism has become a threat to Nepal and the Nepali revolution. This has now become an open fact. No longer remains a secret.
Let me tell you something about how India is now maneuvering inside our party? India is exerting its influence from three different fronts.
Firstly, it is using its longstanding subservient disciples like Baburam Bhattarai and Ram Karki to strengthen Indian grip inside our party. To a large extent, India has bagged successes in this regard already.
Secondly, it is using the close associates of Chairman Prachanda and trying to take Chairman in their firm grip. It is being widely discussed inside the party that Barsaman Pun ‘Ananta’, the incumbent Finance Minister, is working as an intermediary between the Indian establishment and Chairman Prachanda. Ananta’s excessive hobnobbing with the India’s intelligence wing has further raised suspicions about his much hidden intentions.
Some months ago, we found him presenting working papers at a seminar organized by Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)-the Indian Intelligence Agency.
Let me tell you that the Indian establishment had preferred Ananta as the Finance Minister in the cabinet of Dr. Bhattarai. This had created massive uproar inside our party, if you recall those days. It is said that Dr. Bhattarai had made Ananta the Finance Minister under the direct instructions of New Delhi for serving the economic interest(s) of the latter in Nepal.
Thirdly, India is trying to maneuver inside Baidya camp through Krishna Bahadur Mahara. This front of maneuvering is most dangerous and frightening. Mahara, in a willing manner, is trying to present and project himself as a close friend of both India and China. But we took him as a person with excessive South leaning who is now assigned the tasks of producing Indian puppet(s) even inside the Baidya camp and demolish this camp once and for all. If Mahara succeeds in his malicious mission, whole Nepali population will be converted into the puppets of Indian expansionism. This is for sure, and hence, this issue should be taken more seriously by the countrymen.
Q12: Can you please tell us what might be the immediate plan of India in Nepali politics?
Dr. Baral: India wants Baidya camp to join the incumbent government for making Dr. Bhattarai’s tenure successful and shielding the waning political credentials of their man in Nepal. India wants the continuation of the incumbent government led by Bhattarai.
Q13:To which extent India may go for materializing this plan? Do you have any idea?
Dr. Baral: As usual, India has again come to the forefront of Nepali politics. The recent so-called agreement reached between Chairman Dahal and Baidya was the result of India’s maneuvering. India has asked its stalwarts inside our party to mend fence with Baidya camp and to persuade the latter to join Bhattarai government. Without any hesitation and doubt, I can tell that the idea of the so-called agreement was floated by New Delhi. The stalwarts of the expansionism are now vigorously trying their best to materialize the grand design of India in Nepali politics. Let all of us admit this fact.
Slaver like behavior of Dr. Bhattarai towards India is of the highest order and no other person inside our party has so far exceeded this man in this regard. In the past, we used to accuse him for being excessively loyal towards Indian expansionism on ideological grounds. After assuming the post of Prime Minister, he signed BIPPA with India and Four Points’ Agreements with Unified Madheshi Front. His deeds have now proved him as compliant of the Indian expansionism. Therefore, India wants the continuation of this government and Krishna Bahadur Mahara is assigned to achieve this purpose.