Chairman Prachanda to be Nepal PM

Times of India, 20 April 2008

KATHMANDU: Winds of change swept Nepal on Saturday as the Maoists reached a simple majority in the first phase of elections to the country’s first constituent assembly and their jubilant chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known as Prachanda, declared that he himself would lead the new government of the republic of Nepal.

The former rebel waved to cheering crowds at a victory rally staged in the historic town of Kirtipir to celebrate the poll results showing the Maoists on track to emerging the country’s biggest party.

"As per the understanding of the seven ruling parties, the first meeting of the constituent assembly would proclaim Nepal a republic," said an emotional Prachanda.

He promised to bring a new vision to the Himalayan nation, which has had several previous abortive attempts to make a transition to full-blown democracy.

With 120 out of the 240 seats in their kitty, the Maoists were also consolidating their lead in the second phase that would elect another 335 members.
It was an eerie moment as Prachanda returned to the town busy with harvesting, to thank it for his personal victory.

Kirtipir was a matter of prestige for the Maoists, who had fought a 10-year war trying to overthrow the Shah dynasty, which the rebels regarded as invaders.

In the 18th century, Prithvi Narayan Shah, an ancestor of King Gyanendra, had invaded the town during harvest and laid a siege, till food and water supplies ran out, forcing it to surrender.

The victorious king is said to have cut off the noses of the subjugated townsmen.

From: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Chairman_Prachanda_to_be_Nepal_PM/articleshow/2964663.cms</span>

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