Prachanda moves into lavish house;Journos slam 'red feudalism'

Prachanda moves into lavish house;Journos slam 'red feudalism'

Prachanda, Nepal's most powerful politician who had waged a decade-long war against monarchy, is under fire for moving into a multi-crore mansion in the heart of Kathmandu, with senior journalists here calling it an example of "red feudalism".

The 1,500-sq metre property costing Rs 19.60 million (USD 2.31 million) is located half a kilometre from the Prime Minister's official residence at Baluwatar, Rastrapati Bhawan and former King Gyanendra's mansion Nirmal Niwas at Maharajgunj. It has a huge parking area and table tennis hall.

It was not surprising to learn that Prachanda has moved into such a lavish mansion in the capital's prime location, as his party had accumulated huge wealth through various means during and after the conflict, Gunaraj Luitel, Executive Editor of the Annapurna Post, a leading daily here, charged.

Prachanda's new residence is an example of red feudalism flourishing in Nepal, Luitel told PTI. He is one of the richest leaders in South Asia though he belongs to one of the poorest countries in the world, he said.

Prachanda, 58, who had waged a war against monarchy that left over 16,000 people dead, is heading a party that claims to work for the poor and deprived people. He does not need to show the income source for acquiring such a huge building as there is no transparency in the Maoist party, Luitel said.

The news about Prachanda moving into the lavish building has come out at a time when the government has introduced a regulation to keep 140 categories of information secret, he said, alleging that both the Maoist-led government and the Maoist party are functioning in a non-transparent way.

C P Gajurel, Secretary of UCPN-Maoist and its top hardline leader, admitted during an interview to the Kantipur Television that there is no transparency within the party, which has given rise to suspicion in the minds of the cadres.

The gap between the rich and the poor is growing within the Maoist party itself, Gajurel said, pointing to the growing rift between the hardliners and the establishment faction led by Prachanda and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.

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