Some may have found it unbelievable, others merely amusing: Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand and the Maoist peace talk coordinator Baburam Bhattarai standing together as they distributed awards. The Nepali media has found their blue-eyed boys in the Maoist peace talk team. Even state-owned media are giving them wholehearted coverage. On the one hand this could be an indication of press freedom, and on the other, it could be the glamour that surrounds rebel leaders creating an illusion that the regime may have changed in Nepal.
The ceasefire announcement came as a surprise to most Nepalis. A series of abrupt developments occurred after that. It is understandable that the leaders expected to participate in proposed roundtables and peace talks put on a good face, meet with other political powers and members of civil society. But Bhattarai has disappointed everyone by his eagerness to stand on the same dais as the ministers from the "old regime" to hand out awards to controversial people. After witnessing his eagerness, authors who want to sell more copies of their books, youths flogging music albums and traders that need their sales boosted may be encouraged to request his presence at their events. There are no guarantees that Bhattarai won't give any more meaningless audiences.
The appearances made by CPN (ML) leaders, specially Madan Bhandari 13 years ago wasn't any less dramatic than Bhattarai's public appearance on 29 March. Nobody has forgotten that the official greeting card from Nepal's first communist prime minister, Man Mohan Adhikari, carried a picture of the goddess Durga riding a lion. And the public has yet to recover from the spectacle of seeing a communist leader making offerings at the Pashupatinath temple. People don't want leaders who talk big about political ideologies and spout slogans, only to jockey for positions of power in the government. People want actions to match words. Nepalis are tired of unfulfilled promises. History proves that political revolution cannot be sustained without social revolution. Bhattarai's appearance at the function on 30 March has sown anxiety and fear among advocates for change. They see it as a demise of the revolution. Will what they fear come to pass?