Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nepal - CPN-Maoist debates collective and centralized leadership


KATHMANDU, March 24: An intense debate has erupted within the CPN-Maoist over the party’s organizational structure to be endorsed through its forthcoming national convention slated for June. The rank and file members have begun a debate on whether to adopt a centralized general-secretarial system or a collective leadership to bolster the party organization. Though the upcoming national conference was scheduled to discuss CPN-Maoist’s organizational structure besides its future plan and policies, the debate was sparked after the party recently decided to adopt a general-secretarial system at the district level. District conferences of the party, which are currently underway in most of the districts, will end by mid-April. But some leaders are not convinced about the secretarial system at the district level as such a structure not only contradicts the system at the center, but also the party’s statute.
“The statute clearly stipulates a collective leadership from the top to the bottom. We have not understood why the district-level committees have been restructured along the secretarial system,” a CPN-Maoist leader told Republica, insisting anonymity. The newly adopted organizational structure in the district committees does not envisage the post of chairman with collective leadership though the party’s high command and other wings have a chairmanship-led system with a collective leadership. CPN-Maoist spokesperson Pampha Bhusal, however, denied that the party is heading toward a centralized leadership.
“Adopting a secretarial system at the district level does not necessarily mean that the entire party is heading toward a centralized leadership,” she said, adding that there would be a collective leadership in the party even after the national convention. But she was quick to add that the party is mulling drastic changes in the organizational structure. Party’s politburo member Khadka Bahadur Bishwokarma does not rule out the possibility of the party adopting a centralized leadership at the top level. “Though we are yet to discuss the issue in the party, what I can say for sure is that we have been mulling a sea change in the party’s leadership pattern,” he told Republica.
The party had adopted the general-secretarial system for some two decades. But it switched to a structure with the all-powerful chairman, which also included a general secretary, while launching the ‘people’s war’ in 1996. “Yes, the issue has surfaced in the party, though it has not created any row so far,” said CPN-Maoist leader Santosh Buda Magar. He further said that many leaders in the party were of the view that there should be similarity in the organizational structure from the center to the grassroots level. The CPN-Maoist has finished its district level conferences in more than a dozen districts by Monday.

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