Nepal Maoists stage first post-war convention
HETAUDA, Nepal (AFP) - Thousands of Nepal's former rebel Maoists gathered on Saturday for their biggest show of strength since taking up arms in a 10-year insurgency and toppling the world's last Hindu monarchy.
Party leaders who swept to power in 2008 elections following a peace deal, are using a general convention in the southern industrial hub of Hetauda to shore up grassroots support amid growing disillusionment among the rank-and-file.
Around 3,000 delegates from across the Himalayan nation attending the party's first convention in 21 years will hear opening speeches from the party's charismatic leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.
Among issues up for discussion will be the formation of a new federal structure for Nepal as well as the ending of gender and caste-based discrimination, said Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun.