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Ex-guerrilla is Vice President

Saturday, October 31st, 2015
Nanda Kishor Pun

Pic: RSS

After a woman Speaker of Parliament and a woman President, Nepal now has a former guerrilla commander as a Vice President.

Nanda Kishor Pun, 49, became Nepal’s second Vice President by winning a vote in the parliament on Saturday. He succeeds Parmananda Jha and is the first Maoist to become Nepal’s deputy Head of the State. Early this week, Bidya Bhandari had created history by becoming Nepal’s first female President.

Parliament Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar, herself a former Maoist guerrilla, announced Pun’s victory. He defeated the NC’s vice presidential candidate, Amiya Kumar Yadav, with 325 votes. Yadav secured only 212 votes. Despite being backed by the ruling coalition of UML, UCPN(M), RPP (N) and MJF (D), Pun’s victory was not a foregone conclusion. The UCPN (M) had supported UML Chair KP Oli and Vice Chair Bidya Bhandari to become Prime Minister and President respectively, and it was expecting the leading party of the ruling coalition to reciprocate.

But a day before UCPN (M) nominated Pun’s candidacy, some UML leaders belonging to the Madhav Kumar Nepal camp objected to his name and asked Maoist Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal to come up with another candidate.

Dahal threatened to withdraw support to the Oli government if the ruling collation did not unilaterally agree on Pun’s name. It was only then UML gave its nod to Pun’s candidacy.

Nevertheless, the UCPN (M) was still suspicious that some UML lawmakers would not vote for Pun. Prime Minister Oli had to instruct all UML lawmakers to ‘show honesty’ by voting for Pun.

Nanda Kishor Pun

Pic: Kiyoko Ogura

A reclusive and reticent warrior from the remote village of Rangsi of Rolpa, the epicentre of the Maoist insurgence, Pun was one of the four deputy commanders of the ‘People’s Liberation Army’ (PLA).

Alongside Barsha Man Pun (Ananta), Janardan Sharma (Prabhakar) and Chandra Prakash Khanal (Baldev), Pun was second only to the Maoist Chair Dahal (Prachanda) in the PLA ranking. He is better known by his nom-de-guerre ‘Pasang’. Pun was the backbone of the Maoist military wing right from the beginning, and he not only planned but also led most of the major battles in western Nepal. In July 2006, he had revealed to Nepali Times that he had himself planned the first Maoist attack on an army base in Ghorahi of Dang in November, 2001. Until the Ghorahi attack, the Maoists had been fighting the police and the battle sucked the Royal Nepal Army into the war.

Pun was a communist right from his school life. He was a member of the first Rolpa district committee of the CPN (Unity Centre) — the precursor to the CPN (Maoist). He was involved in the CPN (Unity Centre’s) Young communist League, which was turned into Ladaku Dal. After the CPN (Unity Centre) became the CPN (Maoist), Pun threw himself into a bloody war that lasted until 2006.

Despite being defeated in Bhalubang, Kusum and Khara and suffering heavy casualties in Beni, Pun was still considered to be a successful Maoist commander. Accustomed to underground political and military activity, he failed to leave a mark in open politics.

In the second Constituent Assembly (CA) elections, Pun was defeated in a Kathmandu constituency by the NC’s more charismatic youth leader Gagan Thapa. After the election, and in failing health, he was gradually sliding into oblivion.

Pun wanted to become Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, but that was not possible because he was not a member of parliament. Dahal convinced him to agree on the post of Vice President, which was never his first choice.

By virtue of being vice president, Pun has now become the deputy Supreme Commander of the Nepal Army against which he fought bloody battles on many fronts and occasions between 2001 and 2006.

Om Astha Rai

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12 Responses to “Ex-guerrilla is Vice President”

  1. namah on Says:

    oh the irony…officers who he fought to kill will now have to salute him! so this is reconciliation nepali style.

  2. gafat on Says:

    these political morons can pull all their nasty tricks now, but time will bring much needed accountability for heinous atrocities perpetrated by these Maoists on innocent citizens. their brethren Khmer maoist generals are still being prosecuted for their atrocities decades ago.

  3. tanakawa on Says:

    This sets very bad precedence for Nepal – that mass violence is rewarded and can lead to powerful positions. All current movements, legit or not, will take this as a reason to pick up arms. This is a clear disrespect and humiliation to all the victims of Maoist insurgency. Not only has Nepali government done nothing to alleviate those pains but now is actively pestering it. There needs to be a movement to address this insensitivity and callousness.

  4. Yam Gurung on Says:

    Nepali politics is all about money and power?And the Nepalese wounds are still inflicted by the recent two major earthquakes,thousands of people killed,wounded and made homeless.
    People of Nepal are facing all kinds of problems,insecurity,agitation,Indian blockade,because of the incompetent,corrupt and the puppet regimes of Nepal.
    Jai Desh Jai Bhagya!

  5. David Seddon on Says:

    leading ‘Maoists’ now firmly re-integrated in the established political elite in Kathmandu.what happened to the revolution?

  6. David Norkyel Tseten on Says:

    Will this man turn his blood stained gun on the GoN? This is million $ question.

  7. Ravi Raj Kaur on Says:

    Well it is probably best to keep them in the saddle than have bandh forever we congratulate maobadi on success!
    We congratulate also the nepalese media on brave journalism in dangerous times.

  8. Hurray on Says:

    This is exactly how it works in Mafia groups.

  9. Hurray on Says:

    BTW, can we now safely say that Nepal is a communist country with its president, vice-president and prime minister all being from parties with communist connotation?

  10. Ravi Raj Kaur on Says:

    Nepal is peace zone we have to rebuild schools and prisons chitto.

  11. Vivek on Says:

    I think that with the hatred that the Nepalis have for India and that the respect and love that the Tibetans have for India China should take the communist Nepal through Mr. Prachanda guided by CPI and CPI(M) of India and India should get Tibet back from China!

  12. namah on Says:

    @vivek. nepalis don’t hate india/indians. but there sure are skeptical. (this includes ALL sections…even madhesis…who know that current Indian support is just the ‘flavor of day’…

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