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Dahal set to return to power

Kathmandu, July 13, 2016: Chairman of CPN-Maoist Centre Pushpa Kamal Dahal is poised to become the next prime minister after his party withdrew support to CPN-UML-led government and won confidence of the Nepali Congress to form a new one.

The move could be his comeback to power as prime minister after a hiatus of more than seven years. He had quit premiership in May 2009 after the then president Ram Baran Yadav revoked his government’s controversial decision to sack the then chief of army staff Rookmangud Katawal.

In the years that followed, CPN-MC previously known as UCPN-Maoist formed a government under Baburam Bhattarai, who now heads a newly created outfit, Naya Shakti Nepal.

Dahal led a decade-long Maoist guerrilla war against the state before joining mainstream politics in November 2006.

Maoists emerged as the largest political force after the first Constituent Assembly election in 2008 and Dahal led the coalition comprising UML, but were reduced to distant third position after the second CA poll held in November 2013.

In the past seven years, two of Dahal’s top-notch comrades  Mohan Baidhya and Baburam Bhattarai  have parted ways with him. Both have formed separate parties.

Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba was the prime minister when Dahal’s Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist launched armed rebellion in February 1996, putting forth a 40-point demand that included termination of monarchy and election for the Constituent Assembly.

Nepal turned into a federal democratic republic after the first Constituent Assembly election eight years ago. Declaring CPN-M as a terrorist group, the then PM Deuba had set a bounty on the heads of several Maoist leaders, including Dahal, Baidhya and Bhattarai.

Maoist guerillas, on the other hand, had targeted Deuba while he was visiting the far-west region during the insurgency.

Fierce rivals of the yore, Dahal and Deuba are set to make bedfellows after two decades of bitterness. The marriage reminds of an old adage: there is no permanent friend or foe in politics.

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