Sunday, July 2nd, 2006, IndiEnews

Kathmandu – Efforts of Sitaram Yechury, the influential politburo member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), to bring Nepal’s Maoist rebels and the ruling seven-party alliance closer has seen the stock of the Indian party on the rise here.

The Marxist party has thus taken the place earlier occupied by India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that was seen by the government here as its natural ally due to the former’s Hindutva ideology during King Gyanendra’s rule during 2002-2006.

India’s Congress party continues to have ties with the Nepali Congress.

The CPI-M had come to be a key player in the events unfolding here during the king’s direct rule last year when it engineered space on Indian soil for the Maoists, and Nepal’s opposition parties to come together and reach an agreement.

The South Asia Foundation in New Delhi, run by Rahul Barua – a close associate Yechury, helped in the pact that resulted in the Maoists declaring a ceasefire and joining a peaceful protest against the king.

Now as the rebels stand poised to join an interim government, the Indian left parties are seeking to forge an understanding between them and the international community.

During their three-day Nepal visit concluded Sunday, Yechury and Barua met Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda twice, apart from holding talks with important ministers, rebel leaders and chiefs of the ruling seven-party alliance.

Yechury also defended the Maoists by countering a statement by the US ambassador to Nepal, James Francis Moriarty.

Before leaving for the US Saturday, Moriarty made it clear that he was concerned about the Maoists joining the interim government without laying down arms. Should that happen, the US would stop assistance to Nepal since it terms the rebels terrorists.

Asked for his reaction, Yechury said Nepal was a sovereign country and it was against international norms to impose conditions from outside.

While this has reportedly pleased the Maoist leadership, Yechury is also going back to India with the assurance that Nepal’s Maoists are no threat to India.

He would give the Indian government the message that the Maoists are committed to multiparty democracy and competitive politics and would not begin another guerrilla war in case of any differences arising during peace negotiations.

More importantly, he would also allay the fears that the rebels have links with India’s outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist and were still involved in carving out a ‘red corridor’ from Sri Lanka to Bangladesh through India.