For the first time in the nearly five years since they began their insurgency, the Maoists have announced the formation of a 'People's Government'. This is a major challenge to the Congress government. In Rukum district the people's government was formed on 1 and 2 December. Besides a chief and a deputy chief, 15 others were elected as representatives. Top Maoist officials and other cadres attended this ceremony.
According to sources, the Maoists have chosen Rukum as their temporary programme area, following which a government was formed there. After a two-day meeting in Rukum it was decided that 43 village development committees would take part in choosing the district people's government.
The sources said Purna Bahadur Gharti was elected the head of the district people's government with Maheshwor Jung Gahatraj as his deputy. Others elected to the 15-member committee are Kul Bahadur Nath (representing the people's army), Tejendra Kham Magar (the Magar community), Man Prasad Shrestha (the Newar community), Budhi Prasad Sharma (the farmers), Saruwa Batha (the Jatiya Morcha), Kamala Rokka (women), and Surya Nath Pun, Narendra Buda, Chandra Bahadur BK, Tanka Bahadur Pun, Kumar Gharti, Hari Bahadur Oli and Om Prakash Gharti. Two other candidates were defeated.
Maoist leaders present at the elections stated that this is a temporary people's government formed at the time of a peoples' war. This is also Nepal's first temporary government. The entire district has been left open to the Maoists after all police posts were moved to the district headquarters. Maoist sources also said that the government recently formed is a transitional one, and elections would soon be held for a permanent one.
The people's government is going to provide security to the villages, provide help to the families of the martyrs, help in local development, protest when the police or army enter the villages, and help increase the productivity of the farmers. What is not clear is where the money will come from to provide for all this work. The government in Kathmandu was on the verge of providing development funds to the districts of Rukum, Rolpa, Kalikot and Jajarkot with the help of the security forces. The formation of the peoples' government has now brought in a new element to the affair.
The Maoists formed the district people's government with great enthusiasm but it is going to be difficult for them to protect this district with the same enthusiasm. This decision was taken in haste and shows political immaturity and leftist opportunism and is going to prove a political blunder.