On December 26, 2022, in Kathmandu, Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” was sworn in as prime minister of Nepal. As the celebration began, the daura-suruwal, the attire of Nepal’s traditional power elite, stood out as being worn by both the former Maoist rebel commander Prachanda and the departing Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. In the past, Mr. Prachanda avoided it and preferred a western-style jacket. If Mr. Prachanda’s choice of daura-suruwal represents a change in his ideological views, speculation has already started.
Even the Nepali Congress was taken aback by the rapid resurgence of friendship between former prime minister K.P. Sharma Oli and Mr. Prachanda, which provided the appearance of a friendly transfer of power despite the absence of Mr. Deuba. The Nepali Congress allegedly engaged in power-sharing talks with Mr. Prachanda in the solid conviction that the two men’s relationships were irreparably damaged.
Together, Mr. Oli and Mr. Prachanda—both previous prime ministers—won the 2017 election, the first one held in accordance with the 2015 Constitution. The Nepal Communist Party was created after the merger of Mr. Oli’s CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Center).
However, Mr. Oli made a number of choices without consulting a larger group of people, despite the party’s unity. As a result of Mr. Prachanda’s activism and the mobilisation of the Nepal Communist Party Standing Committee in response to these actions, Mr. Oli was ultimately obliged to dismiss the Cabinet in December 2020. Earlier that year, Mr. Prachanda and Mr. Oli did team up to present a united front in the Kalapani dispute between India and Nepal when the latter produced a new political map depicting the Kalapani-Lipulek-Limpiyadhura region as an integral part of Indian territory.
According to sources on the ground, Mr. Prachanda’s inability to forgive Mr. Oli for his excesses at their previous meeting in 2017–19 was made known to the Nepali Congress. He did, however, demonstrate that he lacks the scruples that caused him to pick fights during his first term in 2008 in 2022.