KATHMANDU, Feb 14: Nepal Communist Party Chairman KP Oli skipped an event organized by the party to mark the “People’s War Day”— the day when former Maoists had launched an armed insurgency against the government in 1996 — this year also.
The insurgency ended in November 2006 with the signing of a peace deal between the Maoist rebels and then then Seven Party Alliance and this led to the abolition of the centuries-old monarchy and establishment of a federal republic. Since then the former Maoist party has splintered into various groups but the CPN (Maoist Center), the biggest group led by Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal, merged with the Oli-led CPN-UML to form the NCP in 2018.
With the formation of the NCP, Oli, who was once known as one of the harshest critics of the Maoist armed insurgency, become the head of the powerful communist party and is leading a powerful government after the party garnered majority in parliament. But he hasn’t attended any event organized to mark the “People’s War,” which many former Maoists perceive as a watershed in Nepal’s history.
More than 300 party leaders of the then UML were killed by the Maoists during the decade-long war. Even as the two parties merged to form the NCP, party leaders are still divided among former UML and former Maoist camps.
NCP had distributed invitation cards to the media and party organizations stating that both Chairman Oli and Executive Chairman Dahal would attend the main function at party headquarters in Dhumbarahai. But Oli skipped the event at the eleventh hour citing his busy schedule.
Insiders say initially Oli had expressed unwillingness to attend the function but later agreed under pressure from party leaders and aides.
Oli’s aides cited his busy schedule as the reason for his absence.
“The prime minister remained busy in preparations for his Friday’s address in parliament to mark his two years in office,” said the prime minister’s press advisor Surya Thapa.
This is a second time Oli skipped the ‘People’s War Day’ event. Last year also, Oli had skipped the event held at the party’s head office.
Meanwhile, Oli’s non-attendance of the event organized to commemorate the “People’s War” has riled the former Maoists in the party.
“Many comrades are disappointed and angry,” said former Maoist leader Mani Thapa, adding, “He should have attended today’s function for his own good and for the good of the party.”
“Both our party’s political documents and the statute have officially recognized the term People’s War. But why is he not attending the commemoration event?” questioned former Maoist leader Thapa. “We don’t know the reason.”