Why is Prachanda so reckless when it comes to his public utterances? The answer could be worrying.
By Ameet Dhakal
Public perception of leaders changes with time. But the public image of Maoist Chairman Prachanda is changing rather fast.
Before the April Movement, when the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) was still at war, the public image of Prachanda (left) was true to his name – the fierce one. In the post-war period that image underwent a metamorphosis: With his broad grin, often ear-to-ear, people found him friendly and amenable. During crucial negotiations he demonstrated much-needed courage and flexibility, building up an image of bold and practical leadership.
Lately, however, another defining characteristic of Prachanda’s is emerging – that of a loose talker. Don’t agree? Consider these eight public gaffes he committed over the past one year.
June 8, 2006: He actually bungled his first public appearance. Addressing media persons after he first met with the eight-party leaders at the prime minister’s official residence at Baluwatar, Prachanda said the army should be reduced to 20,000 in size since it had no purpose but to kill the sons of the people and engage in rape. A week or so after making the comment he apologized for it.
November 20, 2006: Addressing journalists in New Delhi, he said that the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI had offered help to his party through direct and indirect means but he had turned down the offer since it was not in the interest of the Nepali people and India.
March 2, 2007: When journalists asked him why the Maoists had surrendered only a little over 3,000 weapons while they had placed over 30,000 combatants in the cantonments, Prachanda said, “A sizeable chunk of our weapons were swept away by the river.” Next day a blogger wrote in: “Prachandaji where is the river?”, and then answered himself, “Dried out suddenly”. Continue reading