Prachanda - Arms and the man

August 18th, 2008 - 6:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Aug 18 (IANS) Nepal’s Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, who assumed office Monday as the first Prime Minister of the federal democratic republic, was born in a farmer’s family in central Nepal 54 years ago. He lived 25 years underground hunted by security forces and carrying a bounty on his head — Monday began a new chapter in the life of the revolutionary who fought a 10-year “People’s War” to overthrow Nepal’s dynasty of god-kings and transform the Hindu kingdom into a secular republic.

Following are some highlights in Prachanda’s march to the office of Nepal’s prime minister:

Dec 11, 1954: Prachanda born to farmer couple Mukti Ram Dahal and Bhawani in a paddy field in Kaski in central Nepal

1994: Prachanda breaks away from the communist movement to form the revolutionary Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

13 Feb, 1996: Maoists begin an armed struggle to end Nepal’s powerful monarchy and establish a communist republic. The People’s war continues for 10 years and kills over 13,000 people

June 2001: King Birendra, who was trying to establish contact with the Maoists, dies in a brutal palace massacre. He is succeeded by his brother Gyanendra

Feb 2005: King Gyanendra seizes absolute power with the help of the army and intensifies military operations against the rebels. Nepal goes through the worst period of violence

Sept 2005: Maoists announce a ceasefire but the king ignores the gesture

Nov 2005: The opposition parties sidelined by the king are united with the Maoists by India to provide a united opposition to the royal regime

April 2006: The king’s government falls after 19 days’ continuous street protests. Girija Prasad Koirala, opposition leader, becomes PM and Maoists call a ceasefire again

Nov 2006: Maoists and the Koirala government sign a peace pact that promises to hold an election to decide the king’s fate

Dec 2007: Under pressure from Maoists, parliament abolishes monarchy on the condition that it would be implemented after the election

April 2008: Nepal holds its first constituent assembly election after two false starts. The Maoists emerge as the largest party

May 2008: The assembly overwhelmingly votes to scrap monarchy

June 2008: Gyanendra leaves the palace which becomes a national museum

Aug 15, 2008: Prachanda wins the prime ministerial election

Aug 18, 2008: Prachanda sworn in as prime minister

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