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Last Updated: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
Nepal's Maoist leaders heal rift
By Sushil Sharma
BBC News, Kathmandu

Senior Maoist Baburam Bhattarai
Baburam Bhattarai favours an alliance with mainstream parties
A senior Maoist leader in Nepal has been reinstated after several months of suspension caused by major differences with the top leader, Prachanda.

The second highest ranking leader of the Maoist communist party, Baburam Bhattarai, has now been re-nominated to the party's top body.

Prachanda said the move was aimed at uniting various factions in the party.

The rebels have been trying to woo mainstream political parties opposed to King Gyanendra's seizure of power.

Key supporters

Prachanda delivered news of Bhattarai's reinstatement in an e-mailed statement on Monday.

Prachanda, chairman of the Maoist communist party, said Bhattarai had been re-inducted into the politburo special committee.

King Gyanendra
A Maoist alliance with the mainstream could threaten the king

Bhattarai is the second-in-command who led Maoist negotiators in failed peace talks with the government in 2003.

Two of Bhattarai's key supporters, Ashok and Rahul, have also been reinstated.

They were all suspended earlier this year following policy differences.

Bhattarai is known to back an alliance with the political parties who have been at loggerheads with the king over his seizure of direct rule five months ago.

Such an alliance could pose a serious challenge to the monarchy, which the rebels want to overthrow.

Prachanda earlier this month offered to hold talks with the political parties.

The parties have, however, insisted that the rebels first renounce violence before any negotiations.

At a joint meeting on Monday, the parties reiterated that the rebels must create an atmosphere of trust ahead of any dialogue.

There has been no immediate response from the rebels.

But Bhattarai's reinstatement appears to be aimed at appeasing the mainstream parliamentary parties.

Prachanda said the move was aimed at bolstering the fight against what he said was feudal autocracy.

About 12,000 people have died in 10 years of Maoist rebellion.


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