Prachanda has invitees waiting, never shows up

KATHMANDU: Strange are the ways of Unified CPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda'. Dahal rushed to the domestic airport to catch a flight to Biratnagar, leaving hordes of invitees at a book launch ceremony waiting and utterly baffled.

Book author Dr Rishi Raj Baral later told the jam-packed audience that the chairman had told him he would be at the venue "in five minutes".

But he was not. The organisers and invitees waited for half-an-hour, but Dahal would not show up at the venue till 2.30.

Just then, someone dropped the hint that Dahal wouldn't make it. The reason: he was well on the road to the airport on his way to the Tarai town.

Dr Baral saw 'no apparent reason' for Dahal to skip the book launch. "Actually, he had asked me to arrange for the security, saying that he would arrive within five minutes," said Dr Baral.

Speculations began to do the rounds in Dahal's absence. Some suggested that, by skipping the function, he dodged the controversy that figures prominently in the book's second part. Others took a dig at his fickle-mindedness.

This was not the first time Dahal has failed to live up to his commitments, according to some party activists who were at the venue alongside several important personalities who had assembled at the venue.

In the end, Dr Baral's 'Power and Culture' was launched jointly by artiste Maila Lama and central committee member Anil Sharma. The book argues in favour of the cultural front leading the revolt to get the 'party's gradually deviating policy' back on track.

Dr Baral, a senior Maoist activist and a member of the party's special state committee, had been appointed by the Prachanda-led government to the post of executive chairman at Nepal Television, but together with 15 others he resigned from the state-owned channel over differences in political appointments.