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India watching Maoist shift in Nepal

Publication Date : 12-02-2013


The change in the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)'s political line, adopted during the party's seventh General Convention recently held in Hetauda in southern Nepal, is being observed with great interest by India.

Describing the change as a 'huge and significant shift' in the party's principles, India's Nepal hands have claimed that the development will "undoubtedly have a positive impact on improving the New Delhi-Maoist relationship."

The weeklong jamboree of the largest Nepali political force, which started on February 2 this year, endorsed Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal's political document, which now envisions embracing a 'capitalist revolution' by abandoning its previous line of 'people's revolution'. This time around, the UCPN (Maoist) has not only abandoned its traditional practice of identifying a 'principal enemy', but also did not mention a word of India - a country it has otherwise regarded an 'expansionist force', regularly linking anti-Indian sentiments with nationalism over the past two decades.

KC Tyagi, Principal General Secretary of India's Janata Dal (United) party and newly appointed Rajya Sabha member from Bihar, praised the Maoists for embracing a 'pragmatic' policy, and learning from the mistakes of history.

Similar observations came from senior Indian journalist Anandswaroop Verma, who argued that the Maoist shift is based on geopolitical realities. "Even if Mao Zedong had been in a difficult geopolitical situation like Nepal, he would have adopted a balanced policy," said Verma, who is considered an expert on Nepal's communist history. He, however, argued that this shift in principles is a 'big risk'. "If the Maoists fail to clean their internal issues like corruption and address the problem of cadres being alienated from the leadership, this shift in principle could cost them a lot," he said.

Nihar Nayak, a researcher on Nepal issues at the Indian government-funded Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), observed that the 'growing distance' between the Maoist leaders and cadres is still a serious problem. "Though the Maoist leadership formally declared the adoption of a new path, radicalism still prevails among cadres," said Nayak. "It is not enough to just adopt a new policy on paper."

However, Tripathi argued that the new move has sent a positive message to the international community, including India. "The UCPN (Maoist) has delivered the message of its commitment to democratic practice and a national dialogue for consensus," he said.


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