Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Radical Maoist groups are involved in a violent campaign to prevent elections on 19 November. Led by a former Maoist official, Mohan Baidhya, they have carried out violent actions across the country, including ambushes, vandalism, arson and bombs.
Yesterday alone, public and private buses were attacked, in one case in Kathmandu with a bomb. In this incident, which occurred in Samakhus, near central Kathmandu, nine people were seriously injured, three critically with burns on more than 50 per cent of the body.
Another bus with 50 people on board was attacked in the Siraha District when a group of extremists threw a petrol bomb. In this case, everyone was able to escape without injuries.
Elections are coming next week after five years of political chaos and four coalition governments, which proved unable to draft a democratic constitution after centuries of Hindu monarchy.
Nepal's main political parties, the Congress Party (conservative) and Unified Communist Party of Nepal(Maoist) or UCPN(M), told voters that once in power they would draft a constitution within a year.
UCPN(M) President Pushpa Kamal Dahal, aka Prachanda, is best poised to win. However, he and his party's leadership have come under fire for their lavish lifestyle, a far cry from their ideals of social change, economic growth and lasting peace.
Prachanda and his family especially have come in for heavy criticism. "That family just loves to spend, whether it's Prachanda blowing money on hair gel or Rolex watches, his wife buying saris all the time or his son Prakash, obsessed with changing his mobile phone every two weeks," said Bishnu Pariyar, a former guerrilla fighter who became one of Prachanda's aides.