In the end, things happened as Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ had planned. With Baburam Bhattarai by his side, he managed to sideline hardliner Mohan Vaidya.
The party shelved its plan to “prepare ground for a people's revolt” — adopted at the Palungtar plenum in November and instead decided to focus on peace and constitution drafting, both of which have to be completed by May 28.
But as both tasks seem unlikely to be completed by then, Maoists are likely to support another extension of the deadline.
The U-turn was, however, not supported by all. Though outnumbered, Vaidya registered his dissent and accused Prachanda of ‘serious ideological deviation’.
Questioning Prachanda's honesty, integrity and leadership, the Vice-Chairman termed the change in tactic as “rightist, revisionist and an act of ideological erosion and reformism”.
The hardliners will now take their view to the lower levels of the party and push for people’s revolt.
“We also want peace, but not peace of the graveyard,” a leader close to Vaidya said.
Understandably some sections in the party lower echelons and Maoists combatants are also unhappy with the leadership's change of stance, which they see as a compromise for power.
When the decision for people’s war was adopted at Palungtar, the party was still looking at ways to return to power after remaining out of it for 18 months. But the scenario now is different.
Having returned to government by supporting Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) chief Jhalanath Khanal as the prime minister, it seems it doesn't want to let go of the perks soon.
No wonder Vaidya alleges that Pranchanda's change of heart was only aimed at reaching the prime minister's seat.
Significantly, the party has resumed talks with Nepali Congress and Madhesi parties to strengthen the existing coalition or form a new one with the stated objective of concluding the peace and constitution drafting processes.
Only time will tell whether last week’s U-turn is only for power, a genuine wish for peace or just a change of tactic for future deviations.