The preparation for the 'people's war' had begun way back in 1991. That is why I don't believe that the insurgency began due poverty, unemployment and the failure of the multiparty system, though those were factors. Guns were used because of differences of opinion.
In 1991, the figures who are the leaders of the Maoist movement today, believed in power centralisation. We were all in the CPN (Unity Centre) then. But I was of the opinion that such centralisation would lead to dictatorship. They believed in the class struggle, while I argued that communism is a different cultural revolution. The third difference we had was about murdering people. They thought they could advance their movement by killing people, I opposed the idea.
The Maoist leadership has always believed that they can make the state bow to them using intensified killings. As a result, the Maoist cadres have become cruel and brutal. Their biggest problem is that they simply can't stand someone with a different opinion. In their documents, they have stated they will respect different opinions but they have not been able to practice that. There is no tolerance in their culture.
With regard to Maoist rebels in India, the Indian government has some vested interests in Nepal. The first is about its security. Ever since the British days, they wanted Nepal as a buffer state so that it would not have to deploy a large number of soldiers along a China border. That is why they left Nepal alone. India has inherited that geopolitical legacy.
The other Indian interest in Nepal is over hydropower. It needs 20,000MW and irrigation water. We have heard India is preparing to hand over Maoist leaders to Nepal in exchange for the Kosi project, and they have agreed with the royal government over the Upper Karnali project.
The fourth difference I had with the leadership was about creating a base area. Like Mao, they believed that they could create bases in rural areas and encircle the cities. I had argued that Nepal is not self-dependent on its economy and therefore we would not be able to sustain our base in the urban areas if other forces encircle us.
But we must accept the fact that the Maoists have been able to consolidate their strength. It is because of them we talk about social, cultural and economic changes today. They have also been able to take advantage of the rifts between the political parties and the differences between the parties and the palace.