Maoist ideologue finally emerges from shadow of Prachanda

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Prachanda
Kathmandu, Aug 29: Nepal's India educated new Prime Minister, Baburam Bhattarai, is a Maoist party ideologue who was instrumental in transforming the rebels into a political outfit that emerged as the single largest party in the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections.

The 57-year-old Bhattarai, who has a doctorate from New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, has finally emerged from the shadow of his party supremo Prachanda.

The vice chairman of Maoist party, who is from a Brahmin family in western Nepal's Gorkha district, was the deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister in the government led by Prachanda in 2008.

Bhattarai, who is a key party ideologue, played a crucial role in mainstreaming the Maoist guerrillas after a decade- long insurgency following an agreement with the interim government led by G P Koirala in 2006.

He earned praises for the surge in revenue collection as the finance minister. Maoists chief Prachanda proposed Bhattarai for the post of PM as he is seen as a moderate in party and was in a position to win the support of the centrist party in the country.

Bhattarai underlined that his government "will give top priority to concluding the peace process and drafting a new constitution".

"Government will make efforts to forge national consensus on key issues," he said.

The Maoists, who do not not have an absolute majority, need the cooperation of all the parties to push forward the stalled 2006 peace process and the drafting of a new constitution.

However, the new prime minister's first challenge is to build a consensus on extending the term of the parliament, which was extended twice, the latest on May 29 that is set expire at the end of this month.

PTI

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