|BACK TO WORK: Nepal police returning to Udrapur in Banke on 11 December, after nearly five years of absence.|
Tuesday gave us an inkling of what the Maoists\' ?safe landing? will mean on the streets.
Every time the party doesn\'t like something, it will force a shutdown on a weary nation. Which means, as the Maoists come out of the closet, they will behave just like opposition parliamentary parties have since 1990. This week, they enforced a wildcat strike on Kathmandu and put on showy armed parades near cantonment sites. Then they warned that there would be two more days of this to augur in the new year 2007. A farmer in Musuriya watching the Maoist armed parade told visiting journalists: ?We thought we finally had peace. And now this.?
All this sabre rattling was less about ambassadorial appointments and more a sign of Maoist nervousness about anger in the rank and file boiling over because of the UN?s delays in arms storage, which is also having a knock-on effect on the setting up of an interim government.
The party brass must have heard the impatience during its central working committee meeting this week in Bhaktapur. The meeting strategised on how to restructure the organisation for party politics and, in that sense, was path-breaking.
The party leadership decided to push for a nationwide political campaign on a democratic republic platform for the constituent assembly election. They also decided that ?revolutionary? land reform and a lower land ceiling would be part of that platform. It does look like the Maoists have a headstart in the campaigning over others in the governing alliance.
On Thursday, for the first time the Maoists announced the real names of all their top leaders, some of whom were still underground and were only known by their nom de guerre. They announced sub-central committees based in five different development regions: with Ram Bahadur Thapa in the east, Barsaman Pun in the central region, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi in the west, Post Bahadur Bogati in the mid-west and Netra Bikram Chanda in the far-west.
?With the end of the war and to enter open politics, we are structuring our party based on the government?s regional divisions,? party spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara explained. Interestingly, the photogenic party supremo Dahal will be in charge of publicity, and ideologue Baburam Bhattarai will head the People?s Council. Mohan Baidya, recently released from jail in India, will head training and monitoring. Other committees will decide on the names for the interim government and parliament.
The Maoist threat of more bandas is the sound of an underground armed group entering mainstream politics. We\'ll have to get used to it.