Nepal Maoists stage first post-war convention
2 February AFP
Thousands of Nepal's former rebel Maoists gathered Saturday for their
biggest show of strength since taking up arms in a 10-year insurgency
and toppling the world's last Hindu monarchy.
Party leaders who swept to power in 2008 elections following a peace
deal are using a general convention in the southern industrial hub of
Hetauda to shore up grassroots support amid growing disillusionment
among the ex-fighters. Around 3,000 delegates and hundreds of thousands
of supporters attending the party's first convention in 21 years are
expecting to hear a rousing opening address from leader Pushpa Kamal
Dahal calling for unity among the rank-and-file.
"The biggest challenge we face is how to manage the former
combatants, especially those injured during the war. The former fighters
spent the most productive years of their lives fighting the war," said
Uttam Basnet, 49, a regional leader in eastern Nepal.