In a sign of growing factionalism, a group of disgruntled party workers planned to murder vice chairman of Nepal's ruling Maoist party Baburam Bhattarai on Monday.
Bhattarai was meeting a group of visiting Indian journalists at the party headquarters in Kathmandu when some party workers allegedly close to party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal plotted to kill him.
The plan came to light when a leader belonging to a faction of the party's trade union called up associates and told them to "finish off" the senior leader.
Reports say Bhattarai's aides and security personnel who overheard the conversation foiled the bid and alerted him.
Bhattarai later complained about the incident to party secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa and also requested home minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara for adequate security.
In a statement on Tuesday, Maoist spokesperson Dinanath Sharma confirmed the murder plan and censured the attempt. He said appropriate action would be initiated against the plotters.
Hundreds of workers close to Bhattarai staged a demonstration outside the party headquarters for an hour on Tuesday demanding more security for the leader and action against the culprits.
Enmity among factions of the dissolved All Nepal Trade Union Federation, the party’s trade union, owing allegiance to Dahal, Bhattarai and another vice chairman Mohan Baidya is said to be reason for current feud.
There have been frequent clashes between these factions and the Dahal group holds Bhattarai responsible for arrest of one of their leaders on charges of attacking a pro-Bhattarai aide earlier this month.