Prachanda, Bhattarai rift reaches Maoist central committee

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Shirish B Pradhan

Kathmandu, Jan 19 (PTI) The ideological differencesbetween Maoist heavyweights Prachanda and Baburam Bhattaraihave spilled out in the open threatening to plunge the partyinto crisis, after the latter boycotted a key party functionand proposed to discuss the issues with grassroot cadres.

The intra-party rift intensified after vice chairmanand party no 2 Bhattarai wrote a dissent note in a minute ofthe high-level party meeting chaired by Prachanda, disputingthe party''s official line describing India as an arch enemyand launching a people''s revolt to capture power.

The rift further escalated after Bhattarai decided totake the differences to district and other lower levelorganisations of the party, according to party sources.

Prachanda and Bhattarai both are aspiring for the postof the Prime Minister though Prachanda''s hold is stronger thanthat of Bhattarai�within the party.

Bhattarai wanted to discuss the issues of differenceswith the district level meetings of the party while partychairman Prachanda did not want that to happen, said RamKarki, politburo member of the party.

A politburo meeting of the party today discussed thematter and it was decided that the issue be taken to theCentral Committee meeting tomorrow, Karki said.

Though Prachanda has a majority command in the centralcommittee, Bhattarai''s position is also not that weak, pointedout a central member of the party.

Karki, however, expressed confidence that the issuewill be resolved in tomorrow''s central committee meeting.

Moderate leader Bhattarai has asked the partyleadership to focus on concluding the peace process and on thetimely drafting of the constitution for consolidating theachievements of the People''s Movement of 2006, instead ofmaking high sounding slogans like "people''s revolt" to capturepower.

Prachanda has in his paper held responsible internaland external forces for causing threat to national integritywhile Bhattarai says that internal forces are mainlyresponsible for that.

The training imparted by the Maoists to their 5,000cadres in Kathmandu to prepare for a ''people''s revolt'' had tobe postponed after Bhattarai boycotted the opening ceremony ofthe training programme on Monday.

Further, the editor of Maoist mouthpiece JanadeshWeekly, Komal Baral, had to quit after he had seriousdifferences with his colleagues regarding publication ofBhattarai''s interview.

Executive Editor Mana Rishi Dhital interviewedBhattarai regarding his note of dissent and boycotting theparty''s training programme for Tuesday''s edition.

After Editor Baral told the editorial team that he isagainst publishing Bhattarai''s interview as it was against theparty''s policy he was asked to quit. .

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