His alliance with the main opposition party Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) has put him as the head of the newly formed government and it seems that he is the Prime Minister until 2082 BS (2025) as part of a deal. He has been appointed as prime minister for the third time and that became possible because of his alliance with the main opposition UML after the Manshir 4 2079 BS (20 November 2022) election.
Prachanda participated in a total of four elections. His first election was in 2008 and he contested from Kathmandu and Rolpa, in 2013, from Kathmandu and Sarlahi, in 2017 from Chitwan, and recently in 2022, he won the elections from Gorkha.
On Jestha 15 2065 BS (28 May 2008), the monarchy was officially taken out from the amended constitution of 2047 BS (1990) and was replaced by a democratic republic. Prachanda was the 10th Prime Minister of the country after it swiped out the Hindu monarchy. But political uncertainty and indifferences between the leaders and parties failed all ten prime ministers to complete their entire tenure.
Who is Prachanda?
Popularly known as Prachanda (‘fierce’), Pushpa Kamal Dahal was born Ghanshyam Dahal, on Manshir 26 2011 BS (11 December 1954) in Lewadi, Nepal. He is the son of Muktiram Dahal (father) and Bhawani Dahal (mother) and married to Sita Dahal. He has a Diploma in science in agriculture (ISC-Ag) from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS), Rampur, Chitwan.
In 1978 Prachanda started his political career with CPN, the Communist Party of Nepal (Fourth Convention). In 1985 he was Elected central member of the CPN (Masal). In 1986 Masal Party split and, he sides with the Mohan Baidya-led party. In 1989, he became general secretary of the CPN (Mashal) when Baidya resigned, and later the party became the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).
Even after the restoration of democracy in 1990, Prachanda was underground. In 1992 he became general secretary of the CPN (Unity Centre). In 1995 he became general secretary of CPN (Maoist). In 1996 he led a decade-long armed rebellion which ended in 2006. Nepal endured a civil war from 1996 to 2006 that killed around 16,000, and thousands of others were disappeared, displaced, and disabled.
Nepal after The Civil War
At that time Prachanda was the leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) while the country’s civil war was going on and subsequent peace was in process. Prachanda’s agenda was to end the Westminster parliamentary system and adopt a directly elected presidential system. His posters were hung at various places in Nepal self claiming himself the first President of Federal Nepal. He did not succeed to become President as the posters claimed but ended up with a designation or rather a nickname “bhitte rastrapati”, literally “President on the walls”.
A Congress leader Dr. Ram Baran Yadav became the first President of Nepal.
In Manshir 5 2063 BS (21 November 2006) Prachanda as a representative of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and contemporary Prime Minister of Nepal Girija Prasad Koirala as a representative of the Nepal Government signed the comprehensive peace agreement.
The decade-long war ultimately led the Maoists to Nepal’s parliament. In the April 2008 Constituent Assembly election, Prachanda was elected from Kathmandu constituency 10, and Rolpa-2 won by a large margin at both places. In the 2064 BS (2006) election, his party emerged as the largest party with 220 seats out of 601, and Prachanda was nominated as a Prime Minister by the party and became one. He was again nominated for the second time and became the Prime Minister in (2074 BS) 2016, with the agreement to form a rotational government with Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre).
Prachanda’s first Prime Ministership (2008–09)
After receiving the highest popular vote from the public on 28 Chaitra 2064 (04-10-2008 AD) he became the prime minister for the first time. At that time, his Maoist group was still tagged as a “terrorist” by the United States of America. He served as a PM for only a year resigning in 2066 BS (2009).
After becoming a PM first thing he did was to claim that “In 10 years, Nepal will develop from an extremely poor country with a per capita GDP of less than $300 to the richest country in South Asia with a per capita GDP of $3,000.” He overconfidently declared that Nepal will become the “Switzerland of Asia” in the future—a small picturesque country, a paradise for living and working in peace and contentment.”
In May 2009 he sacked the army chief, Rookmangud Katawal, on the account of refusing to enlist the former Maoist rebels into the country’s military. Katwal referred to them as “indoctrinated cadres”. Opposing his decision President Ram Baran Yadav, called the move unconstitutional and asked Katawal to continue with his post. Due to the power struggle, and moral pressure, Prachanda resigned in 21 Baisakh 2066 (05-04-2009 AD), less than nine months after coming to power as the head of a multi-party coalition.
In 2012 former Maoist supporter Padam Kunwar slapped Prachanda across the face, smashing his glasses at a party event. Padam Kunwar claimed his action was a response to corruption scandals involving the Maoist party.
Prachanda, the Prime Minister for the Second Time (2016–17)
On 3 August 2016, Prachanda once again became the prime minister, the 39th, of the country after securing the required majority in the parliament for the second time in his career. At that time he was Nepal’s eighth prime minister in eight years and the 24th prime minister since the country established multi-party democracy in 1990.
He had secured 363 votes against Khadga Prasad Oli (KP Oli) of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), the CPN-UML, in the Legislature-Parliament, while 210 votes were cast against him. He was supported by the Nepali Congress, Sanghiya Gathabandhan, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik, Rashtriya Prajatantra Party, and other fringe parties of that time.
There was a power-sharing deal with the Nepali Congress party. Prachanda stepped down on 10 Jestha 2074 (05-24-2017 AD), and Sher Bahadur Deuba, leader of the Nepali Congress succeeded him.
The Unification of Communists
As parliamentary elections approached, Prachanda broke his alliance with the Nepali Congress and formed a new alliance with the CPN-UML. In 2075 BS (May 2018), the CPN-UML party led by KP Oli and the CPN (Maoist Centre) led by Prachanda announced their unification as Nepal Communist Party (NCP) at a press conference and formally dissolved their respective fractions.
They had the power-sharing deal, in which KP Oli and Prachanda were expected to run the office of prime minister in rotation. But in November 2019 both came to an agreement where KP Oli could serve as prime minister for the government’s full five-year term in exchange for Prachanda taking executive leadership of the party.
After the arrangement, Prachanda intended for KP Oli to consult him and the party on major decisions, and when that didn’t go according to his plan Prachanda insisted that the two leaders revert back to the original agreement of rotational Prime Ministership. Therefore in December 2020, KP Oli recommend President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved parliament and call early elections.
Prachanda’s 3rd Time Luck (2022 and on….)
As per the latest election Manshir 4 2079 BS (20 November 2022) results- for the house of representatives, Nepali Congress Party led with 89 out of 275 seats. The CPN-UML was in 2nd position with 78 seats. Prachanda’s NCP was third with only 32 seats. Following the result and the political history of Nepal, people expected the government for the next five years to be led by Nepali Congress Party. But Prachanda, Nepali Congress’s alliance partner jumped ship to join the rival block UML to become the least anticipated PM of Nepal. The 44th Prime Minister of Nepal.
He received the support of 170 parliamentarians from six parties and four Independents in the 275-member House. In this new form of government, the Nepali Congress party will be the main opposition holding 89 seats.
Maoist Agenda in Nepal
The Maoist original agenda or popularly called Maoism refers primarily to the ideology, politics, and writings of Mao Zedong. Mao Zedong (Romanized-Mao Tse-tung) (1893–1976) was the leader of the Chinese Communist Party. He was deeply influenced by a German economist and the progenitor of communism, Karl Marx, as well as the Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, who founded the Soviet Union.
Mao Zedong developed a socialist revolution in the agricultural, pre-industrial society of the Republic of China and later the People’s Republic of China. The establishment of the “New People’s Democracy” (NPD) was the main goal of the communist party. NPD was, as written in Mao’s Red Book, a political system established by a broader united front of labor, farmers, national capitalists, the middle class, intellectuals, youth, women, and students, on the basis of unity between workers and peasants and the leadership of the proletariat.
The philosophical difference between Maoism and traditional Marxism–Leninism is that the peasantry (a pre-industrial agricultural laborer) is the revolutionary vanguard (class-conscious) in pre-industrial societies rather than the proletariat. This updating and adaptation of Marxism–Leninism to Chinese conditions in which revolutionary praxis (Practice, as distinguished from theory) is primary and ideological orthodoxy are secondary represent urban Marxism–Leninism adapted to pre-industrial China. Because of the radical turn in Mao’s politics in his later years, most prominently in the cultural revolution, the content and effect of Maoism underwent major changes. The theoretician argued that Mao had updated Marxism-Leninism fundamentally and the updated idea of Maoism could be applied universally throughout the world.
The Maoist party of Nepal claimed to have adopted a resolution on the ‘development of democracy in the 21st century’. They have accepted and organized a multiparty competition within the constitutional framework. They also claimed to have adopted core components of Marx and Lenin’s communist ideologies, i.e. class struggle, armed revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat; but they added their own native contents, i.e. land reform, instituting a republic, nationalism based on anti-India and anti-West sentiments, and non-conformism with the Westminster system.
They participated in the first experiment with democracy 2007- 2016 BS (1951-1960) and obtained four seats in parliament at that time. Now, this party has participated in four elections since the former armed rebels renounced violence and joined peaceful politics in 2064 BS (2006).