BIRATNAGAR: Unified-CPN Maoist leaders belonging to both factions of the party boarded same plane to go to separate May Day programmes in the east, without uttering a word to one another, sources said.
The party broke tradition this year by deciding to hold separate programmes to mark the International Labour Day as the party’s establishment side held a programme in Biratnagar and the Baidhya camp chose Duhabi, Sunsari, for its show.
Party vice-chairman and PM Baburam Bhattarai, Kochila State Committee in-charge Haribol Gajurel, central member Prahlad Budhathoki and Ganga Shrestha –– from the establishment faction –– and Politburo members Hitman Shakya, Mahendra Paswasn, CA member Kiran Rai –– from the Mohan Baidhya camp were on board a Buddha Air flight this morning.
When the plane landed in Biratnagar airport at 10.50 am, supporters of both the camps were awaiting to receive their respective leaders. While Prime Minister Bhattarai and other establishment faction leaders were talking to the journalists at the VIP lounge, Mohan Baidhya faction leaders jetted off directly to Duhabi.
Meanwhile, local administration had beefed up security at the airport to prevent any untoward incidents. Local authorities had deployed Nepal Police and Armed Police personnel along the 15-km long Biratnagar-Duhabi road section.
“As we had been tipped off that the factions were to disrupt each other’s programmes, security precautions were necessary,” said a security officer.
“As we too had been informed about possible clashes, we were fully prepared,” said a Darshan Gadal, from the Baidhya camp.