A 'grey coat day' for Nepal Maoists
Wearing grey coats, at least 73 Maoist cadres take oath as parliamentarians in the Himalayan Kingdom.india Updated: Jan 16, 2007 14:06 IST
Having waged an armed struggle for more than a decade, it was a quiet entry into the democratic fold for Maoists in Nepal as they waited patiently for over five hours to take oath as Parliamentarians.
Wearing grey coats, 73 hardcore Maoist cadres stood along with 10 independent members chosen by them in a separate room and waited patiently for the reinstated House of Representatives to be dissolved after promulgation of the Interim Constitution on Tuesday.
Interestingly for a section which had faith in gunpowder in the past, the Maoists have chosen a Buddhist monk as one of their independent representatives.
Among the other independents are a former Major of the Royal Nepalese Army, an arch enemy in the past, and a journalist.
They were led by party spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara and arrived in a special room allotted to them in the Parliament building complex at 3.30 pm and entered the main hall at 8.30 pm.
While the men were wearing trousers with grey coats, the women were wearing either a kurta or a sari with their coats.
Top Maoist leaders, including Prachanda, and number two Baburam Bhattarai did not join the Parliament, but they were witnessing the swearing-in ceremony from the audience lobby.
About a dozen diplomats, including Indian Ambassador Shiv Shanker Mukherjee and US Ambassador James F Moriarty witnessed the historic event.
Two of the female MPs belonging to the CPN-UML were widows, whose husbands were killed by the Maoists in the past.
"I am very happy to join the Parliament after eleven years of armed struggle," Maoist central committee member CP Gajurel said.
"We are here to build a new Nepal, totally different from the past," said a former woman Maoist.
"With the promulgation of this constitution, the monarchy has already been abolished in theory, but we have to wait till the constituent assembly polls slated for June to actually end the monarchy," Maoist spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara, said addressing the first parliament session.
The former rebels also joined journalists, government secretaries and ministers during the special lunch and dinner which was provided by the parliament secretariat.