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Maoist chief Prachanda to visit India from Friday as crucial elections loom in Nepal

Will Prachanda bond with Deuba to tilt the scales of November elections in Nepal?

Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, chairman of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center), will start his three-day visit to India on Friday. The visit takes place ahead of the November national elections in Nepal

Dahal is visiting at the invitation of Jagat Prakash Nadda, president of India's BJP, according to his key aide Ramesh Malla.

The CPN (Maoist Centre) is a key coalition partner in the Sher Bahadur Deuba government which came to power in July last year. Analysts say that a combination of the Nepali Congress led by Deuba and Prachanda’s CPN can tilt the electoral scales in their favour. Veteran communist party leader and former Prime Minister Madhav Nepal could also become part of the pre-election combine led by Deuba.

Dahal, a two-time Nepali prime minister, will have some high-level engagements and attend an interaction being organized by the BJP on Sunday.

"The visit will help build Nepal's stronger ties with both the southern neighbor and the BJP leadership," Dahal's key aide Malla told Indian Narrative on Thursday.

The visit is also said to be a part of high-level exchange of visits to deepen political mutual trust and expand bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Earlier in April, Prime Minister Deuba travelled to India for an official visit while his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi visited Lumbini, the birthplace of the Lord Buddha, later in May. These two back-to-back high level visits signified age-old cultural and civilizational ties between the two neighboring countries in South Asia. 

In his meetings with Indian leaders, Dahal will brief them about Nepal's latest political situation as crucial provincial and parliamentary elections are just months away, a senior leader of the party said.

"The chairman will share the country's latest political situation and seek India's support for upcoming elections," the leader told Indian Narrative.

Dahal is a former rebel leader who spearheaded a decade-long bloody insurgency against the Shah monarchy since 1996 that left over 15,000 dead and ended in a 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that led to the abolition of Nepal's 240-year monarchy. The Maoist party joined mainstream politics in 2008 and emerged as the largest party through the country's first Constituent Assembly elections held in the same year.

Dahal became prime minister for the first time in August 2008 and was forced to quit power in just nine months following his attempt to sack the country's army chief Rookmangud Katwal.

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