Prachanda plagued by the ‘P’ curse

Prachanda plagued by the 'P' curse

Kathmandu, Aug 26: Born a nondescript Chhabilal Dahal to a struggling farmer in southern Nepal, the chief of Nepal’s astounding Maoist guerrilla movement became a global phenomenon after he adopted the nom de guerre Prachanda, meaning awesome.

After his People’s Liberation Army fought a 10-year “People’s War” successfully to wreak upheaval in the sleepy Hindu kingdom, he consented to be known by a civilian name as well, Pushpa Kamal.

But now, the once beneficial “P” has forsaken the former revolutionary and is plaguing him with a curse, claims a Nepali actor.

“Look at him carefully now and you will see all his nemeses start with P,” says Umesh Mayalu, Nepali comedian, whose new show to celebrate a traditional Nepali festival kicks off with this theme.

Prachanda’s troubles started two years ago when he dared to tangle with Pashupatinath, the revered Hindu god, says Mayalu.

That’s a crafty reference to the Maoists’ Waterloo during their eight-month government when they tried to dispense with the age-old tradition of appointing priests from India to offer ritual worship at the hallowed shrine in Kathmandu.

But the plan misfired with Nepalis as well as Indian leaders condemning the bid to interfere in religion and the Maoists had to reinstate the Indian priests.

The Nepali comedian ticks off a second “P” that had an even greater debilitating effect on the Prachanda government, causing it to collapse.

It is the Pradhan Senapati or army chief factor.

The Maoists tried to sack the then chief of the army, Gen Rookmangud Katawal, for disobeying them. However, the move boomeranged, causing their allies to pull out and forcing Prachanda to resign.

Now the latest proof that “P” is bedevilling Prachanda is the unprecedented prime ministerial election, Mayalu says.

From a month from July 21 to Aug 23, Prachanda has tried to get back the reins of the government by contending for the post of prime minister.

However, Panch (five) rounds of election have seen him cut no ice with the members of parliament, who have refused to let him get simple majority.

The “P” curse theory forms the staple of Mayalu’s act this Gaijatra season, a cultural fiesta for almost 10 days when satire, parody and mockery rule the roost in the entertainment sector and everyone considered to be who’s who in Nepal – from Prachanda to his former arch-enemy deposed King Gyanendra to Nepali cinema’s oomph girl Rekha Thapa – coming under fire.

However, Mayalu misses out on one more potent “P” factor – the party.

Though he held sway over the Maoist party for almost two decades, Prachanda has now been thrown the gauntlet by two of his deputies.

As the top leaders of the party have begun a meeting to assess where they went wrong and what should be done to rectify it, his deputies Babu Ram Bhattarai and Mohan Vaidya have also presented separate papers, recommending different remedies.

If Prachanda loses the sixth round of election Sep 5, for the sixth time in a row, Mayalu predicts he will lose his stature for once and for all, becoming a humble entity that also starts with “P”.

Prachanda, he says, will dwindle to a mere Pati (husband) to his wife, Sita Dahal.


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