Nepal: Prachanda’s combatants embittered and educated by his trail of betrayal

 The ultimate deception

KIRAN PU, MyRepublica, October 14, 2012

DISTRESS IN PLA

With the dissolution of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA), many people thought Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had successfully tackled the most complex issue of the peace process and led the party to the political mainstream. Last April, he deployed the Nepal Army to disband the PLA in a humiliating manner and accepted the recruitment of a few hundred combatants into the army as a face-saver. With that move, he sufficiently addressed the criteria set by the international and domestic actors to become a “civilian party”, and allayed the widespread fears of the Maoist design to capture state power through violent means.

The question, however, is: Has Dahal been relieved of his responsibilities to the combatants who sacrificed themselves for his political career? If Dahal believes he has left his past behind and can disassociate himself from all that, he is naive.

A cunning politician, Dahal realized the limitation of the protracted ‘people’s war’ leading to a state capture, and began to look for alternatives to ascend to power. The failure of the second Khara attack (2002) was a turning point for the Maoist party. It was a massive offensive on the Nepal Army base camp and Dahal himself, for the first time, had observed it from a nearby village. Unfortunately, his first direct command of a military attack also became his last one. The abortive attempt on the army dented his confidence and ‘forced’ him to jettison his revolutionary zeal altogether. He began to look for other ways to ensure his party’s entry into mainstream parliamentary politics. Thus, the PLA, which had been the backbone of the party, became redundant.

It is not that the combatants were unfamiliar with the political dishonesty of Dahal, but they were just helpless. Their request to not be used as bargaining chips for power only fell on deaf ears. And finally, the seven-point deal (between the four main political forces on Nov.2, 2011 on integration) made it clear to the combatants that they had been duped into the war not for revolution, but to advance Dahal’s political career. Continue reading