Giving up the gun in favour of democratic politics is not a matter of strategy. It calls for an ideological shift and a new approach to politics and power. Nepal’s maoist have been slow to realize and accept this. That is why they retained their People’s Liberation Army even after joining mainstream politics. The current politilcal stalement in Nepal is largely owing to the Maoists’ sinister startegy of using the PLA in order to secure their supremacy in electoral politics. The Maoist leader, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, had to resign as Prime Minister two years ago following his differences with the army chief over the integration of the PLA cadre. A breakthrough seems possible now, with the PLA handing over its chain of command to a commitee run by the country’s regular army. The commitee is supposed to decide on the integration of the PLA cadre in their army or rehabilitation in the police and other forces. The Maoists’ move, although late, may set the stage for the formation of a consensus government. But the Maoists meed to convince other parties that their farewell to arms is genuine and irreversible.
However, the agreement over the PLA gives Nepal’s politicians their best chance of forming a consensus governement and breaking the political impasse.