Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you want them to. The same can be said about the great expectation Maoists in Nepal had of catapulting back to power by holding the country to ransom for six days.
The indefinite strike called by Nepal’s main opposition party from May 2 seeking the government’s removal and setting up of a national government saw citizens suffering.
Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and the UCPN (M) think-tank failed to gauge the public mood, their own weaknesses and stiff resistance put up by the government. In the end the strike was called off on Friday evening and the mass movement dubbed Jana Andolan III by some Maoists turned out to be a damp squib.
It displayed Maoists hunger for power. The unending rounds of talks that failed to break the deadlock also put question marks on the seriousness of ruling parties in taking the peace process forward and drafting a new constitution soon.
The Maoist U-turn on the strike, which they had vowed to continue till “victory was achieved”, shocked their cadre who had left their homes and were squatting on the streets of Kathmandu for a week expecting change.
“We decided to withdraw the strike due to hardships faced by the people and to foil the government’s conspiracy to instigate confrontation among masses,” said Prachanda. He may be true, but not many believe these were the only reasons.
Pressure from international community, growing differences among Maoists and a ‘peace rally’ in Kathmandu where nearly 20,000 people turned up defying the strike were certainly the other reasons.
This doesn’t guarantee a happy ending, since the Maoists have decided to continue their agitation in a different manner. Also, there’s no consensus on the new constitution or extension of the constituent assembly’s term — both of which expire on May 28.