18 January, 2021

Like A Big Bushfire

A surprise victory has the Maoists in thrall. Will power temper their views?

Like A Big Bushfire
When the results to the Nepal constituent assembly elections began to trickle in, Kathmandu witnessed two contrasting responses that reflected its class divisions. The elite retreated behind closed doors, shocked at the verdict and nervous about its future. Meanwhile, the numbed activists of the two mainstream parties—the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML)—simply melted away from the counting centres. Replacing them were the thousands who poured in to glimpse Maoist supremo Prachanda. Elsewhere, the streets belonged to the underclasses who, ecstatic on hope, followed the flower-bedecked car of a victorious Hishila Yami, a Maoist minister from the Koirala coalition government. Like a true subaltern leader, she would occasionally alight from the vehicle and dance with the crowds. In the adjoining district of Lalitpur, followers of Maoist military strategist Barshama Pun held a victory parade demanding that King Gyanendra vacate the Narayanhity palace.

It was their strident opposition to...


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