Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Prachanda: From Commander to Prime Minister

Posted by n3wday on August 24, 2008


This article appeared in the Nepali Maoist newspaper Red Star.

Prachanda, from Commander to Prime Minister

Prachanda, Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M), was elected the first prime minister of Republic of Nepal by the Constituent Assembly CA)on Friday evening.

He defeated former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, the Nepali Congress candidate in the CA voting. Prachanda, meaning “the fierce”, is Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s party name in the single largest CA party, CPN-M.

In February 1996, the CPN-M tendered its 40-point demands to Deuba-led government and launched an “armed revolution” against the government after its demands were rejected.

Later, the government led by Deuba declared the CPN-M as a terrorist group and fixed heavy cash reward to those who could produce the head of the CPN-M leaders, especially of Prachanda.

The CPN-M, after fighting a decade long civil war in which more than 13,000 people died, signed a peace deal in November 2006 and entered the mainstream politics.

The CPN-M became the single largest party in Nepal after a surprising victory in the CA election held in April this year. Prachanda won two constituencies, namely Kathmandu and Rolpa, where his party began the armed revolution.

As his party changed its policy, Prachanda, who waged “the people’s war” in the hills and plains of Nepal demanding republic and restructuring of the country, has also turned into a charismatic leader while shifting his political ideology of bullets into ballots.

Although he never fought himself, Prachanda became the chief military strategist and Supreme Commander of his armed forces, “the People’s Liberation Army” (PLA). However, before the prime minister election voting in Friday afternoon, CPN-M leader Baburam Bhattarai declared in the CA that Prachanda, among other CPN-M CA members, have given up PLA posts.

Prachanda ended his nearly three-decade-long underground politics in 2006 when the CPN-M and other mainstream parties became successful to compel the former King Gyanendra to end his direct rule after a successful April uprising.

Prachanda said he would lead the Himalayan country to a new and prosperous future. “The new government will focus on writing the new constitution within two years and lead the peace process to a conclusion,” he said after filing his nominations for the post of prime minister on Thursday.

“Nepali people have given us a great responsibility. We will do a miracle in this country by doing economic revolution,” he said after the CPN-M won the elections in April, promising that his party would transform the poor country into a new Nepal.

“It’s an epoch making day that has become possible after a long struggle of the Nepali people,” Prachanda said after the newly elected CA declared to abolish the Shah monarchy and declared republic in the country on May 28.

Before CA election, Prachanda said that he was ready to be the president if the people voted for his party. But his party made a makeshift in policy after the constitution was amended giving president only ceremonial duties and the prime minister with the chief executive of the state.

Married and with three children, Prachanda was born into a high Brahmin caste family on Dec. 11, 1954 in the Kaski district, some 140 km west of Nepali capital Kathmandu.

A former school teacher, Prachanda once was a brilliant student and gained a bachelor’s degree in agriculture. He was attracted to communism after he witnessed extreme poverty in rural Nepal and joined the left communist parties in his youth, Prachanda told Xinhua in former interviews.

But his party has a long list of challenges and problems to be solved in the new republic.

The challenges include making new constitution, fulfilling the promises given to party supporters during war, giving economic relief to the people, integrating the CPN-M army in the national armed forces, ending the flood of protests continued in the improvised nation and so on.

Story and Photo Xinhua News Agency

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