When media reported Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh's suggestion to Madhab Kumar Nepal in New Delhi last week to work with the NC, Maoist leader Prachanda went ballistic in Butwal and warned India not to interfere in internal affairs. Barely two days later, he backtracked and went into damage control, saying he'd spoken in a hurry.
Since he came aboveground in Kathmandu last year and made a controversial statement about the army, Prachanda has habitually said controversial things, and then retracted them. People almost expect him to regularly make self-contradictory remarks.
Because they took the path of violence in the past, the Maoists perhaps can't help appearing aggressive. It is a challenge for them to present an acceptable image to the public. They need to make their ideology and politics acceptable to the people. In the past Prachanda has successfully convinced his colleagues about his moderate stance. Now he needs to take the radicals with him. Any politician who likes to talk too much is sooner or later going to get into trouble over some controversial remark. Comrade Prachanda is now earning a reputation for talking too much and regretting it later.
If he wants to continue to be regarded as an alternative political leader, he needs to work on his credibility among the people and the international community. Only then can he stake his claim as a potential leader. Impatience is not in his interest, nor is it in the national interest.