Interview with Nepal's Biplab: Maha-betrayal & the peoples republic


"We shouldn’t think of revolts as terrible accidents. They’re not sudden, and usually happen because of state policies. They’re born through the direct participation of the people and the necessity for change. They’re not impossible, neither are they easily done."

The following interview first appeared  on Ekantipur. The consolidation of a new revolutionary core in Nepal is an extremely important development for people all over the world.

 

Intro by Ekantipur:

To split or not to split has been the question for the Maoist party for a long time after the Constituent Assembly election.

That question is about to be answered—three weeks after the expiration of the CA, the ‘hardline’ faction started a national gathering of activists in Kathmandu on Saturday, a step many see as a preparation to forming a separate party.

One of the key players in the faction, Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplab’ spoke to the Bidushi Dhungel and Gyanu Adhikari about the imminent split in the party and the way forward for the hardliners.

Excerpts from the Interview:

When did the political lines between the hardline and the establishment faction begin to differ?

Primarily, after the Kharipati meet in 2008 when the Chairman Prachanda chose the democratic republic line instead of going for a people’s republic [janabadi]. That can’t be the bottom line for a communist party. It can be for Congress or others, but for a communist party, it should be janabadi.

Did you have these differences when you decided to team up with parliamentary parties and signed the 12-point agreement in 2005?

We were on the same page.

With the King’s direct rule, we concluded it’d be better to go for a political system where the people’s representatives are decisive players. They too concluded that a system that included the Maoists would be better than the King’s direct rule.

Today, it appears the differences are irreconcilable. Does your faction have any proposal to keep it united?

We’ve raised two things in particular: political programme and leadership structure. Besides these there are also economic issues, but they are secondary.

Where exactly do you differ with the establishment faction?

No matter what, we have to restructure the state, and that process should include the Maoists. I don’t mean a few people in the Maoist party. The process should include people’s representatives. We thought the Constituent Assembly was a good path, and we worked tirelessly for four years.  But the CA was dissolved. It proves transforming the state is not easy.

You are in the process of forming a separate party. What would be working policy of this party?

We can talk about it only after we form a new party [clears his throat and chuckles mildly]. In this meet, we’re talking about political line and leadership of the current party.

So there’s possibility of the two factions staying together?

Unless they do a serious self-evaluation, it’s not possible.

Your Chairman [Prachanda] has said he’s willing to resign to keep the party from splitting.

Then he should do it. No point in making speeches about it. When in indoor meetings, he considers it impossible, but in Khula Manch he declares he’ll do it today.

If you’re unhappy with him, why don’t you convince the party activists and replace your Chairman in a general convention instead of splitting?

They won’t open that path. In fact, we wanted to have a general convention before the People’s Liberation Army was handed over. On the one hand, they kept saying yeah okay to us and on the other, they kept signing agreements that were not agreed to by the party.

Is going for a revolt one of the option you’re considering?

Well, we shouldn’t think of revolts as terrible accidents. They’re not sudden, and usually happen because of state policies. They’re born through the direct participation of the people and the necessity for change. They’re not impossible, neither are they easily done.

Is the bone of contention between the hardliners and the establishment faction whether or to adopt the policy of revolt?

It’s not that. The main thing is we want to transform the state. Specifically, we want a change in laws. We should have laws based on the aspirations of today’s citizens. There are many active laws that were created during the Rana regime and early years of Panchayat.

The second thing is the administration, which is conservative and old-fashioned.

Third is the economy, which needs to be restructured to benefit all people.

Fourth is going from a unitary to federal thoughts. Along with that, the security system should also be new.

Do you think the establishment faction has abandoned this agenda?

It makes us sad sometimes. Until some time ago, they were portraying us as opposed to want peace and constitution. They’ve even said that we want to return to guerrilla war.

Is that untrue?

Well, their statements automatically prove that they are not ready to take risks to fulfill the people’s agenda. This answers your previous question—it confirms they’ve abandoned people’s agenda.

Does this risk-taking include working policy of a revolt?

Well, we’ve always said that if Nepal’s state stays the same — if it continues on this path — the people will chose confrontation. There is real possibility of consolidating such revolt. If that happens, we’re ready to take its leadership. There’s no need for us to lie about this.

You say that the revolt depends on people’s choice, but who will support this revolt you envision?

This will include all people without rights from everywhere; workers, farmers, women, Dalits, Janajatis and nationalists who care about our sovereignty. A revolt is only possible after all these forces are united.

A lot of people are keen to know whether you will go underground once the party splits.

We have no desire to go underground (laughs). We’ll stay over-ground and convince people.

Let’s talk about Nepal’s neighbors. Is there any difference in the way the two factions in the Maoist party view China and India?

There’s a difference. Our perspective is that both are our neighbors but one is like a master (malik) and another is like a witness. This can’t be. One is like a witness who watches from the sides, another’s behavior is domineering. We want both to be like friends in a journey.

That’s theoretical talk. In practice, what changes in relationship do you want?

Look, we should be allowed to run the politics of this country. We should be allowed to make our own policies. We should be allowed to solve our issues.

You recently came back from China. What happened in Beijing?

I spoke of these things. I don’t think it’s a huge deal. Our friends’ goodwill toward us is very positive. They said there is poverty in Nepal and there’s no stability. Solve these issues, we’ll help—they said.

What did Beijing say about the Maoist party splitting?

They said we shouldn’t split keep the party intact as far as possible.

What about New Delhi. What do they say about the split in your party?

I don’t have to go to Delhi to get their view. It’s around us, everywhere. During discussions, I don’t find Delhi negative.

Delhi, like Beijing, wants to see the Maoists party united?

Yes, yes. So far none of our friends have suggested we split (laughs).

Going back to the factions, you used to say that peace process and constitution-writing should move together. Then the integration of the PLA proceeded but constitution-writing got stuck. What happened?

It proves us right. Our friends in NC and UML, and Prachanda ji and Baburam ji, used to say the constitution would be written as soon as the issue of PLA was solved. The PLA gave hope to a lot of people that change was coming. Look, what have we achieved. No constitution and no state restructuring. The people are depressed.

How do your faction think the political process will move forward now with all the constitutional ambiguities?

We’ve put our proposal forward. We have to have a roundtable meet along with an interim all-party government. Some have talked of elections and reviving the parliament. Both are date-expired medicines.

Even the CA couldn’t work in an inclusive manner. How can we believe that a roundtable will be inclusive?  

If we do proper homework, this can be the new course. We can get a new constitution through a new course.

And the roundtable will write the new constitution?

Yes. Roundtable can also function as the House of Representatives.

Finally, how do you feel about the leadership of the establishment faction? Do you feel betrayed?

By Prachandi ji and his friends? Yes. It’s not only betrayal; it’s maha-betrayal.

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  • Guest - Ka Frank

    This article in The Hindu below summarizing the differences between the new revolutionary Maoist party in Nepal and the revisionist Prachanda-Bhattarai UCPN (Maoist) is a more accurate reflection of the thinking of the revolutionary Kiran-led party than Biplab's article on a number of issues, including the serious error that the party made in joining in the bourgeois-feudal parties in an effort to "restructure the state" through the Constituent Assembly beginning in 2005. Biplab's undated article also emphasizes emphasizes "restructuring the state" as opposed to "people's revolt" in this interview, which raises a legitimate question as to whether his thinking is in synch with that of Kiran, Thapa, Guarav and other top leaders of the new party.

    The Hindu: “Nepal’s Maoists split; Kiran faction walks away”
    [See a second news report from the Hindustan Times, below this article from The Hindu. -- Frontlines ed.]

    Kathmandu, June 18, 2012

    Prashant Jha, The Hindu

    Circumstances favourable for revolution, says Kiran

    After a protracted internal party struggle, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) finally split on Monday evening with senior vice-chairman Mohan Vaidya ‘Kiran’ walking away with several other senior leaders to form another party, the Nepal Communist Party (Maoist). The decision was taken at taken at the end of a three-day national gathering of cadres associated with the ‘Kiran’ faction.

    The new party has termed the two key decisions of the Prachanda-led Maoist party — accepting the “democratic republic” line in 2005 (which enabled collaboration with democratic parties); and signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006 — as major mistakes. In a document presented at the gathering, Mr Kiran said, “The objective circumstances are favourable for a revolution. We should now create the subjective circumstances for revolution.”

    Senior leaders who have sided with Mr Kiran to set up a new party include many stalwarts of the Maoist movement — Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’, C P Gajurel, Dev Gurung and Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplab’. The new party will have a 44-member central committee; its new leadership structure is yet to be decided.

    Internecine conflict:

    There had been serious divisions within the party ever since the Maoists decided to enter the peace process (and subsequently open politics); and fight for a ‘democratic republic’ in 2005-06. Mr Kiran and Mr Gajurel were in Indian prisons when the decision was taken, and had reservations about it. They claimed that while ‘democratic republic’ was a tactical goal, the ultimate aim must remain a ‘people’s federal republic’ or ‘people’s democracy’. This was seen by opponents as a Maoist plank of establishing a one-party state.

    This tension marked the initial years of the peace process, when the radical faction insisted on the declaration of a republic and a fully proportional representation-based electoral system for the Constituent Assembly (CA) polls. This led to the Maoist withdrawal from the interim government in 2007, and delayed CA polls. During Mr Prachanda’s stint as Prime Minister, he remained under pressure from his dogmatic colleagues to push ‘radical’ changes — seen as the trigger for his attempt to dismiss the then army chief in 2009, which ultimately led to the fall of the Maoist-led government.

    While the Maoists were out of government between 2009 and 2011, Mr Kiran and his colleagues demanded that the party adopt the line of ‘revolt’ instead of ‘peace and constitution’, which was being advocated by Dr Baburam Bhattarai. Chairman Prachanda sided with Dr Bhattarai at a key central committee meeting in April 2011.

    Though Mr. Kiran supported Dr. Bhattarai’s nomination as the PM candidate in August 2011, differences deepened between the ‘establishment’ and ‘dissident’ factions soon after. The hardliners opposed the four-point agreement signed between the Maoists and the Madhesi parties leading to government formation. The Maoists then took several steps with regard to the peace process against the wishes of the Kiran faction. This included handing over keys of arms containers, and regrouping fighters into those who wished to opt for integration and those opting for retirement. On April 10 this year, following tensions among combatants, the government decided to hand over the cantonments to the Nepal Army. Mr Kiran termed the entire process as “surrender and disarmament”.

    Another key difference has been the position regarding the role of India. While Mr Prachanda and Dr. Bhattarai termed the Indian role in the peace process as ‘constructive’ and engaged with New Delhi at different levels, Mr Kiran raised the issue of “protecting national independence”; accused the Maoist-led government of “surrendering”; demanded its resignation.

    When asked about the split’s implications, Sudheer Sharma, editor-in-chief of Nepal’s largest daily Kantipur, told The Hindu, “The Maoist were the largest party, and this split will definitely weaken them. If the new party chooses to adopt a violent path, it will lead to instability. Even if it does not take to violence, it will adopt a radical line in the name of nationalism or ‘anti-Indianism.’”

  • Guest - Green Red

    Great developments after so long and, good to hear from you Frank. after all you were right.

  • Guest - Ka Frank

    From Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle

    Nepal: The new Maoist party meets, and sets its course

    Communist Party of Nepal –Maoist
    Central Committee Press Communique

    A national convention of the revolutionary faction of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) successfully held on June 16-18, 2012 concluded amid inaugural session, closed session and concluding session in the premises of Sherpa Sewa Samaj building in Bouddha, Kathmandu. The programmes run in the historic national convention in which several important decisions have been taken are as follows.

    1. Inaugural session:
    Conducted by comrade C. P. Gajurel, secretary of the UCPN (Maoist), a grand inaugural session, in which there was a huge participation of the masses along with party general secretary comrade Badal, standing committee members comrade Dev Gurung and comrade Netra Bikram Chand, politburo members, central committee members and members of the central advisory committee, was held under the chair of vice chairman comrade Kiran.
    The inaugural session began with lively and enthusiastic singing of the International by Samana cultural troupe.
    A one-minute silence was observed to pay emotional tributes to martyrs, who attained martyrdom in the glorious People’s War and various other people’s movements.
    Vice Chairman comrade Kiran formally inaugurated the convention by lighting a traditional oil-fed lamp and delivered a speech shedding light on the need to build a new type of communist party by breaking relationship with the opportunist group.
    Standing committee member comrade Netra Bikram Chand (Biplab) delivered a welcome speech and shed light on the significance of the convention.
    Chairman of All Nepal Dalit Liberation Front comrade Tilak Pariyar, chairman of Madhesi Liberation Front comrade Krishnadev Singh Danuwar, chairperson of All Nepal Women’s Association (Revolutionary) comrade Jayapuri Ghartimagar, chairman of Federation of All Nepal Indigenous Nationalities comrade Suresh Alemagar, chairman of the Association of Families of Disappeared during the People’s War comrade Ekraj Bhandari, comrade Parbat on behalf of the association of wounded and disabled fighters during People’s War etc. delivered their speeches wishing for the success of the convention.
    The inaugural session was, then, declared concluded.
    2. Closed Session:
    Chaired by comrade Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’, the senior chairman of our party, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), and conducted by the general secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’, the closed session of the national convention of the revolutionary faction of our great and glorious party, was started from the early morning. In the closed session, discussion and deliberation were held on the proposed agenda in a democratic atmosphere and the decisions taken are as follows:

    Comrade Kiran presented the political report on behalf of the central committee and shed light on it in brief.
    Politburo member Pampha Bhusal read out the political report.
    Standing committee member Dev Gurung presented the interim constitution of the party.
    Politburo member Hitman Shakya ‘Suman’ announced the central committee decision of dividing the participants in 21 groups to systematise discussion on the political report and party’s interim constitution and accordingly group-wise discussion proceeded.
    The team leaders of different groups presented the conclusion of the discussion and their suggestions in the Convention. Comrade Prithivi Karki from group one, Comrade Sharada Pokhrel from group two, comrade Mousam from group three, comrade Roshan Janakpuri from group four, comrade Suvas from group five, comrade Dhiran from group six, comrade Laxmi Mudbari from group seven, comrade Sudip from group eight, comrade Birgunj from group nine, comrade Gunaraj Lohani from group ten, comrade Ajit Singh from group eleven, comrade Indrajit Tharu from group twelve, comrade Akhanda from group thirteen, comrade Gambhir from group fourteen, comrade Sarad Singh Bhandari from group fifteen, comrade Ishwar Chandra Gyawali from group sixteen, comrade Laxman Pant from group seventeen, comrade Ramdip Acharya from group eighteen, comrade Ekraj Bhandari from group nineteen, comrade Udaya Chalaune from group twenty, comrade Hasta Bahadur KC from group twenty-one presented the views and suggestions of their respective groups on the political report and the interim constitution in which there was general agreement in the basic spirit and essence of the political report.
    Following the presentation of suggestions from different groups, a meeting of the central committee of the ideological faction was held and it decided to respect the opinions and views presented by different groups and accordingly enrich the political report and the interim constitution by incorporating important suggestions.
    Based on the position of central committee, vice chairman comrade Kiran presented his clarification on the political report. Similarly, standing committee member comrade Dev Gurung presented necessary clarification on the interim constitution.
    General Secretary comrade Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ placed the political report and interim constitution for adoption before the national Convention. And the National Convention adopted both the proposals unanimously.
    i) The salient features and the conclusion of the political report can be presented as follows.

    Firstly, the report has analyzed the present national situation. The main reasons behind the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly without writing constitution are said to be the inaction and incompetence of the principal leaders of the big parties in addition to the domestic and foreign reactionary conspiracy. Admitting that the contradiction between comprador, bureaucratic bourgeoisie and feudal class and Indian expansionism at one pole and the broad Nepalese people at the other is the principal contradiction, the political report has, thus, stressed on the need to raise strong voice in defence of national independence. Similarly, analyzing the international situation, it is stated that the contradiction between the imperialism and the oppressed nations is the principal contradiction at present. In this course, the report says that the United States of America and other imperialist countries have undergone economic crisis; it has had serious negative impact on the life of the people all across the world and it has hinted that this situation is leading to create a multi-polar world. And accepting that the subjective forces are weak compared to the objective situation, it has laid special emphasis on the need to create that kind of strength on the part of genuine revolutionary communist parties in the world.
    The report has summed up the events developed after the initiation of great People’s War, the party task and revolution. They are as follows:
    Even though the policy that the Second National Conference had adopted vis-à-vis the all party conference, interim government and writing of the constitution under its leadership was basically correct as a tactic, but the report has drawn up a conclusion that it had opened up the door for the party to get entrapped in opportunism and it has concluded that the naming of the series of ideas developed in the form of centralized expression of the collective leadership in the form of Prachanda Path has been proved to be wrong through practice.
    2. In the draft proposal of Democracy of the 21st century, the Central Committee had accepted that the role of friendly parties will be competitive not only cooperative. But in course of peace talk, it seemed that party started to compete politically with the other forces, which are not friendly. So it has been concluded that the main objective of presenting that proposal in the Central Committee was to give up the goal of people’s democratic and proletariat state power. Also, it has been concluded that it is necessary to develop democracy in the Communist Party, People’s Liberation Army and the New State.

    3. In the backdrop when the democratic republic adopted as a tactic by Chunwang meeting has turned into strategy and showing the Chunwang position that the analysis of imperialism by Lenin and Mao has lagged behind, the strategic adoption of the old parliamentarian politics by saying that there is a need to develop strategy and tactic in a new way has been concluded to be wrong.

    4. Without guaranteeing to establish the achievement of People’s War and Mass Movement, the hasty compromise reached in the agreements including 12-point, 8-point, Comprehensive Peace Agreement etc. has seriously hurt at the credence and value of the Nepalese revolution, people’s war and the Nepalese people’s expectation and aspiration of transformation. In the process of revolution agreements can and should be made. But, while doing so, one must not have betrayed the interest of the proletariat, masses of the people and revolution as well. However, the same has happened.

    5. Party’s revolutionary faction has been working hard to correct every mistake, weakness and deviation and in this respect the conventions and the meetings including in Kharipati and Palungtar have played important role in this regard.

    6. The creation of People’s Liberation Army, establishment of base areas and people’s government, role played by workers, peasants, women, indigenous nationalities and Dalits; and the awareness developed in this whole process are some of the major achievements we have gained and taking all these in a positive sense a conclusion has been drawn up that we have to move forward by standing upon this base.

    7. One of the main decisions made by this historical national convention is that there is a serious right neo-revisionist deviation in both Prachanda and Baburam. Admitting that they had played a positive role in the course of revolution and the great people’s war, a conclusion has been drawn up that they have undergone a serious deviation in the later period. This kind of deviation has surfaced in every realm of theory, politics, philosophy, strategy, tactics and conduct as well. In the situation when this deviation has been manifested in rightist liquidationism, class and national capitulationism and when the party has been changing its colour it has been decided that the formation of a new type of the communist party is a must. And, realizing the fact that there are several revolutionary comrades within this neo-revisionist group, we have taken up decision to appeal all of them to be a part of the revolutionary current by rebelling from such opportunism.

    8. It has been decided to organise Party Congress on the coming February 12, 2013. Also it has been decided to keep the door for unity open till the Party Congress if the leadership of the neo-revisionist group corrects the mistakes and transforms oneself.

    9. The convention has decided to defend the present achievements like republic, federalism and secularism. And in the present situation when the country is still in a semi-feudal, semi-colonial and neo-colonial condition, admitting that the need to make a new democratic revolution in Nepal is a must, the convention has decided to go along the process of revolution. In the present context, the establishment of People’s Federal Republic and the question of defending National independence have been adopted as the main political tactics.

    10. When the dreams of workers, peasants, women, Dalits, indigenous nationalities and the masses of the oppressed region manifested in the great people’s war, mass movements, Madhesh movements and the same conducted by indigenous nationalities and the masses from the oppressed region have not been fulfilled and when the domestic and foreign reactionaries and also the opportunists from the party have betrayed the process of writing constitution, a decision has been taken to march ahead along the direction of preparation of Nepalese revolution through people’s insurrection by taking up the issues of class emancipation, the federalism with identity, inclusive proportional representation, privilege and the prerogative etc.

    11. Paying attention to the worthlessness of the reinstatement and re-election of the CA in the present context when the CA has been dissolved, it has been decided that the tactic of All Party Round Table Assembly, United Interim Government and the new political way out through this is the correct tactic and it should be made complementary to the main tactic of People’s Federal Republic and the defence of national independence.

    12. By way of waging ideological struggle against neo-revisionism, the convention has taken decision of organising a systematic, disciplined and revolutionary party, preparing a code of conduct from the CC and firmly implementing it and systematizing people’s volunteers and mass organisations. Also, a decision has been taken to build a united front comprising of the forces including patriots, republicans, leftists and pro-federalism forces.

    13. Decisions have been taken to wage struggle for organising Roundtable Assembly, building United Interim Government, developing immediate tactics for the new political way out, defending national independence, providing full respite to the martyr’s families, making public the fighters disappeared by the state during people’s war, conducting resistance struggle against corrupted and comprador elements, resolving the burning problems of people’s livelihood and controlling price-hike and corruption.

    14. The main aspects of the party’s interim constitution adopted by the Convention are as follows:

    The guiding principle of party will be Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
    The party which is being organised by breaking relations with opportunists will be named as the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist.
    The tasks related to Party organization, mass organisations, department etc. will be systematised, party will be made well-disciplined and militant on the basis of collective decision and committee system. Financial transparency and audit system will be emphasised.
    15. After the political resolution and interim constitution of the party were adopted, the central committee meeting was held with the chairmanship of the eldest member Comrade Ishwori Dahal i.e. Ashare Kaka. The meeting elected Comrade Kiran as Chairman, Comrade Badal as General Secretary, Comrade C. P. Gajurel as Secretary, Comrade Dev Gurung and Comrade Netra Bikram Chand as Standing Committee Members and also decided to continue with the same Polite Bureau Members, CCMs, and the Advisory Committee members who were since before in the revolutionary faction. And, it was decided to float a proposal for the mandate to include more comrades in the CC.

    16. Comrade Ram Bahadur Thapa presented the decision adopted by the CC before the National Convention for adoption and all those decisions were adopted unanimously.

    17. Comrade C. P. Gajurel presented the proposal on current issues and it was adopted unanimously.

    3. Closing Session

    a. Finally, the National Convention was concluded. In this concluding session Comrade Kunta Sharma from advisory committee, Comrade Takma K.C. from the martyr’s family, Comrade Bishnu Pukar Shrestha from intellectual, and Comrade Maila Lama from the Cultural Front delivered their best wishes and happiness for the success of the Convention. At last, Comrade Kiran, along with his commitment to firmly propelling the party task and revolution forward, delivered his concluding speech by saying thanks to all who contributed for the success of the Convention.

    B. At the last, the programme was concluded with chanting of the revolutionary slogans in an emotional and animated atmosphere.

    Dated: June 19, 2012

    With revolutionary Salute!

    Ram Bahadur Thapa “Badal” Mohan Baidya ” Kiran”

    General Secretary Chairman

    CPN-Maoist CPN-Maoist

  • Guest - Gary

    I've been reading and re-reading the communique of the new party posted by Ka Frank. I find myself in general agreement but there are parts that aren't entirely clear to me, partly do to the apparent awkwardness of the translation.

    For example:

    "In the draft proposal of Democracy of the 21st century, the Central Committee had accepted that the role of friendly parties will be competitive not only cooperative. But in course of peace talk, it seemed that party started to compete politically with the other forces, which are not friendly. So it has been concluded that the main objective of presenting that proposal in the Central Committee was to give up the goal of people’s democratic and proletariat state power. Also, it has been concluded that it is necessary to develop democracy in the Communist Party, People’s Liberation Army and the New State."

    I THINK this means:

    "In the draft proposal of Democracy of the 21st century, the Central Committee had accepted that the role of friendly parties will would be competitive not only cooperative. In [the] course of peace talk[s], it seemed that [the] party [indeed] started to compete politically with the other forces, [but those other forces were] not [in fact] friendly. So [we have] concluded that the main objective of presenting that proposal [about “cooperation”] in the Central Committee was [a proposal] to give up the goal of people’s democratic and proletarian state power. Also, [we have] concluded that it is necessary to develop democracy in the Communist Party, People’s Liberation Army and the New State."

    If I'm interpreting right the Prachanda and Battarai factions are called to task for mistaking incorrigible enemies for friends whose obstructions would prevent the establishment of a Federal People's Republic. Am I interpreting (the meaning of the sentence, the issue of its political line aside) accurately?