Prachanda is Nepal's new sex symbol!
The Maoist chief's first public appearance at Prime Minister's residence created a near stampede.india Updated: Feb 07, 2007 15:55 IST
Till a few years ago, Rajesh Hamal, one of the top paid film actors in Nepal, was undisputedly its biggest sex symbol.
But since Nepal's decade-old insurgency ended with a peace pact, Maoist chief Prachanda has become just that.
After spending almost 14 years underground, the reappearance of the agriculture graduate and former school teacher in public creates a response that will stun even the choosiest film star.
Prachanda's first public appearance at Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's official residence, after his once banned party signed a peace pact with the government, created a near stampede.
Even after frequent public appearances since then, the Maoist chief continues to be the centre of all attention wherever he goes.
Last month, when Koirala hosted a tea party in honour of the new constitution, the Maoist chief's entry made the media desert other leaders including the prime minister. Everyone made a beeline for the rebel leader.
The most revolutionary change in people's perception of the guerrillas perhaps came when a women's magazine had readers naming Prachanda as one of the sexiest men in Nepal.
A woman even told Nari magazine that she found the chairman's moustache - resembling Hitler's but with a higher smattering of grey - "very sexy".
Prachanda, who is ready to speak his mind on most issues, has remained silent on this new phenomenon.
What Prachanda does, says and even wears comes under avid discussion.
Nepal's weeklies have been gossiping about the Rolex watch the Maoist leader supposedly wears and the Mont Blanc pen he reportedly used to sign the peace accord with a flourish.
Even the corporate grey safari suits that the chief and his lieutenants have been wearing have been hailed as the symbol of the Maoists' transformation from a guerrilla party to a parliamentary one, replacing the green fatigues worn during their jungle days.
There has been a new development since then that could interest psychologists.
Last month, when King Gyanendra made a public appearance at a religious festival - his first public appearance since the promulgation of the new constitution that stripped him of his role as ceremonial head of state - onlookers observed a new thing about the king.
The hitherto clean-shaven monarch was sporting a royal moustache.