Six years after they gave up arms Nepal's ruling party on Saturday began its seventh national convention after a 21 year gap and the first one post the 1996-2006 civil war.
Thousands of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) cadres thronged the southern industrial township of Hetauda to take part in the inaugural session attended by representatives of political parties from Nepal and abroad.
Held at a time when Nepal is witnessing political and constitutional crisis following dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in May last year, it is expected to give a new direction to the country's largest party.
When the party's last convention was held at Madi in 1992 it had adopted the line of peoples' war. In the interim it took part in the civil war, signed a peace deal, joined politics and came to power.
"We will never leave peoples' issues. But we are willing to change methods to achieve peoples' rights as per need of the hour," UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' stated in his inaugural session.
Speakers from other political parties expressed hope that the convention would also pave way for consensus, a national unity government and fresh polls to elect the next parliament.
Differences among parties on these issues have prolonged the deadlock and opposition parties blame the ruling Maoists 'lust for power' as the main reason for the same.
"We will bring out a formula through this convention to end the political crisis and hold fresh elections," he said.
The convention will continue till Thursday and the party is expected to make public its new political strategy on the final day.