KATMANDU, Feb 28: Maoist combatant Purna Gharti, who had played an important role in his party's victory in the first Constituent Assembly elections, deviated from the party's line and opposed the CA elections of 2013.
Gharti dissociated himself from the mainstream Maoist party and boycotted the elections after joining the splinter group of Maoists led by Mohan Baidya. The Baidya group was dead against the elections so he worked hard in an attempt to foil the second CA elections. Poll-opposing Baidya also split into two parties after Netra Bikram Chanda formed a separate communist party leaving the veteran communist leader alone. Frustrated with the immediate split in the party, Gharti along with Ram Bahadur Thapa returned to the party led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
The decision to rejoin the previous party proved a boon in his political career. Gharti was elected provincial assembly member from Rukum and subsequently was elected as speaker of Province 5.
"It's a big achievement in his political career," a Maoist leader said, adding, "To speak frankly, the decision to rejoin the previous party proved him as one of the luckiest politicians."
Gharti is one of the many Maoist leaders who benefitted upon returning to the mother party. Ram Bahadur Thapa is also the beneficiary. Thapa was ranked as the second senior-most leader after Baidya when the party opposed the 2013 CA elections. Thapa, however, could not stay longer with the Maoist and rejoined the Dahal-led Maoist party after the 2013 CA elections.
Recognizing his past contribution, the party elected Thapa as a member of the National Assembly in the recent elections and subsequently elevated him to the post of Home Minister on Monday.
Kul Prasad KC of Rolpa is another deserter to benefit after abandoning Baidya's party. The former Maoist combatant had returned to the mother party ahead of the 2017 elections. Considering his stronghold in the district, the party fielded him as provincial assembly member. KC was projected as chief minister of Province 5 but his expectation could not materialized as the party had to compromise after forging an electoral alliance with the CPN-UML. After failing to get the chief ministerial berth, KC is now the Internal Affairs and Law Minister of the province.
Another defector Indrajeet Tharu also got key position after he returned to CPN (Maoist Center) abandoning Baidya-led party. Tharu, who had been elected a lawmaker in 2008 CA elections defeating influential Nepali Cognress leader Khum Bahadur Khadaka was gradually losing his power when he was with Baidya. Tharu then severed his relation with Baidya. Impressed by his past contribution, the Maoist party fielded Tharu in the election and subsequently he got elected as a provincial assembly member from Dang-1 (a).
Dama Sharma, Narensh Bhandari, Devendra Poudel, Matrika Yadav, Dev Gurung and Yasoda Gurung of Baidya-led Maoist party returned to the Maoist Center ahead of the recent elections. All of them are now representing provincial or central parliament after getting elected in the recent elections.
"Several leaders who quit the Baidya-led Maoist party are now elected in central and provincial assemblies," said Maoist leader Nirmal Achaya, adding, "Thus, the old party has proved a fortunate one for them."