Maos respond to the video: here
The video was first aired yesterday evening by Image Channel. YouTubed today by myrepublica.com
During the uncertain times just two months before the 10 April 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” was addressing a meeting of People’s Liberation Army commanders and combatants at Shatikhor, Chitwan cantonment. In that 2 January 2008 speech, Prachanda talked about how the Maoist leadership had inflated the numbers of the PLA soldiers by almost five-fold and how the Maoist planned to capture the state and the national army. The speech was videotaped. The video was broadcast late yesterday night by Kathmandu-based network Image Channel. [Meanwhile, the elections did happen, which at the time of Prachanda speech, seemed uncertain because of differences between the Maoist and non-Maoist parties over percentage allocation for the electoral systems First-Past-The-Post (PPTP or direct votes) and proportional representation. Prachanda’s party emerged single largest in the CA and four months after the polls Prachanda formed a multi-party government that lasted until yesterday. The reason behind Prachanda government’s fall? It wanted to sack the army chief who, in the videotaped speech, Prachanda says is obstructing the PLA’s integration into Nepali Army.]
[Maos respond to the video: The Maoist party has responded to the video saying that its ‘irrelevant’ and ‘a conspiracy tool.’ The party’s spokesperson Dina Nath Sharma, issuing a press statement, said that the video was ‘made to derail the peace process and to make the current critical political situation more provocative.’ He said the video was was meant to give assurances to the party cadres about the Constituent Assembly and the peace process. “We are committed to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. We are clear in our beliefs about army integration, about drafting a pro-people constitution and about our commitments expressed to the people,” says Sharma in the statement. The Maoist party has also asked the public ‘not to be swayed by the propaganda’ that is ‘aimed at derailing the ongoing peace process.’ The Maoist also asks the media not disseminate such provocative news and to uphold their social responsibility. It was reported earlier in the evening that a group of Maoist youth wing YCL had surrounded the office of Image Channel that first broadcast the video.]
Prachanda, in the video, says the real number of PLA was between 7,000 and 8,000. “Some say the number has decreased. But I don’t see it like that. We know the reality, don’t we? Tell me. We were between 7 thousands to 8 thousands. But we shouldn’t tell this reality to outsiders. We told the number was 35,000 [to UN] so even after the UN verification the number came to 20,000. Had we given the real number, that would have come down to about 4,000.”
“If we get upper hand in running government, we will not care about the UN verification results. We will make our own rule and do it in our own way,” he said.
Prachanda said even if only three thousand PLA soldiers, who he said were politically awakened, entered into the national army, they would bring the whole institution of army into Maoist fold. He said the Nepali Army soldiers didn’t know anything more than parrading (boot bajarne). That is why, he said, army chief Rookmangud Katawal ‘recently’ gave speech against integration. “Here, you have got ideology, awareness and vision,” he said. “Once such soldiers are inside, they will convert the whole organization.”
According to the video transcript by Republica daily, Prachanda also said the party had not forsaken the ultimate goal of bidroha (revolt) and asked his men not to be swayed by compromises struck by the Maoist party with other political parties. He said party workers may be thinking that their leaders are having tea with enemies, forgetting their revolutionary agenda. But the reality is the leaders are still working for a revolution, he said.
The Maoist chairman said that money that the “martyrs” in villages throughout the country and the PLA in cantonment receive will help them move ahead in their goal of total victory. The money that will go to the “martyrs’ family” will help repair the party’s deteriorating relations with the common people. “We will tell them this is just a relief (of Rs 100,000) and you need to support us to get the remaining Rs 900,000,” Dahal revealed his strategy of winning the CA elections. Each martyr family has been provided Rs 1,000,000. He added that one third of the Rs 600,000,000 that was agreed to be given to the PLA cantonments would be used to further the goal of Maoists’ control of the state. “That money will be used to stage revolt. On surface you might feel the party has abandoned the revolution but if you see it deeply, the party is intensely preparing for the revolt.”