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Prachanda tries to portray deputy Bhattarai as an Indian stooge

The bid by Opposition Maoists in Nepal to restore ‘civilian supremacy’ seems to have hit an internal roadblock with differences between the party’s two senior most leaders spilling out in the open.

world Updated: Jan 06, 2010 19:09 IST
Utpal Parashar

The bid by Opposition Maoists in Nepal to restore ‘civilian supremacy’ seems to have hit an internal roadblock with differences between the party’s two senior most leaders spilling out in the open.

Rumour mills here are agog with Chairman of UCPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda suggesting that his deputy Baburam Bhattarai is trying to become the next prime minister with Indian help.

Without naming anyone Bhattarai termed the remark as an attempt to assassinate his character. He is also understood to have lodged a protest at an emergency meeting of the party’s central committee held on Tuesday.

Prachanda’s remarks in front of party colleagues, which was posted by Nagariknews.com in its website, exposes differences between the two leaders while UCPN(M) is attempting to become a shareholder in government and agitating on the streets against the ruling government.

Speaking at a function organised by All Nepal People’s Cultural Federation, a sister wing of UCPN (M), the former prime minister had stated that Bhattarai’s name is being repeatedly proposed by India as the next prime minister in order to play on the party’s internal differences.

Outlining the party’s plan of action, he said a decisive revolt is its main agenda. “The main thing whether we make it to the government or not is to capture the state through people’s revolt,” he was quoted in the tape.

Although Prachanda claimed on Tuesday that there were no differences among UCPN (M) leaders and Bhattarai too expressed unhappiness with the media for highlighting the issue, the damage had been done.

The party’s central committee formally endorsed Prachanda as the next prime minister if a new government is formed. The fourth phase of UCPN (M)’s agitation to restore ‘civilian supremacy’, which is underway at present, is to conclude on January 24.