Former teacher to lead Maoists to Nepal parliament
Kathmandu | January 12, 2007 11:15:06 AM IST
A former teacher from one of the poorest villages in Nepal will lead the Maoists to parliament as the guerrillas progress from bullets to ballots Monday.
Krishna Bahadur Mahara, a 48-year-old maths and science teacher from Libang village in mid-western Rolpa district - the cradle that nurtured the communist insurgency, has been named the leader of the parliamentary party of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist.
Mahara, who was the party's spokesperson when it was banned as a terrorist organisation and headed a team of rebel negotiators when the guerrillas resumed peace talks with the new government last year, will return to Nepal's house of representatives Jan 14 after over a decade.
He had been elected member of parliament from Libang 15 years ago when the guerrillas were still in mainstream politics.
With the kingdom poised to see a historic change Monday, when the Maoists re-enter parliament and King Gyanendra loses his last executive position as head of state, the rebels have made public their list of 73 MPs in a house that will have 330 seats.
Keeping their pledge to give representation to women, Dalits and members from backward communities, the guerrillas will send 29 women to parliament and 54 members from disadvantaged communities, including 20 of Indian origin.
They have also chosen a disabled legislator and 17 members from families who lost a kin during the 10-year-old insurgency.
The list includes two leaders who were arrested in India and handed over to Nepal - Matrika Prasad Yadav and Suresh Ale Magar.
The list also includes Dinanath Sharma, whose daughter is married to Maoist supremo Prachanda's son, and Hisila Yami, wife of top-ranking rebel Baburam Bhattarai.
Prachanda and Bhattarai, however, will not join the new parliament since it is going to be only an interim one, entrusted with holding a key election by June when people will decide if they want to retain monarchy or trade it in for a democratic republic.
It will be a literally bullet to ballot transformation for Janardan Sharma, better known by his nom de guerre Prabhakar, who was one of the four deputy commanders of the guerrilla People's Liberation Army.
A mild-mannered, slightly built rebel, whose name however strikes dread at the hearts of businessmen and industrialists, will have even more clout as he too joins parliament Monday.
Shalikram Jamerkattel, chief of the Maoists' powerful trade union that has often closed down enterprises at the drop of a hat, becomes a legislator after suffering a terrorist tag for 10 years.
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