The leader of Nepal’s ruling Maoists, who led the country’s downtrodden masses in the guerrilla war which eventually overthrew its monarchy, has provoked a row among his comrades after acquiring a luxury mansion with a swimming pool and badminton court.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal, whose nom de guerre ‘Prachanda’ once struck fear into the heart of the country’s military and political elites, appears to have adopted the lifestyle of the billionaire royals he once loathed.
The home is in Kathmandu’s exclusive Lazimpat where his wealthy neighbours once lived in fear of his Maoists coming to power and seizing their property.
Instead, Prachanda has moved in among them, into a red-brick mansion next to a home owned by one of his former class enemies, General Shanta Kumar Malla (Rtd), a former military adviser to the late King Birendra.
The compound includes a 15 room suite of offices and a private family residence and parking space for ten cars.
According to his family he has rented the mansion for just over £800 per month – a vast sum in Nepal where the average salary is less than £200 per month.
His son has said on his Facebook page that he had moved for security reasons and to live somewhere more befitting a “man of Prachanda’s stature”.
But it has compounded the resentment of some of his comrades who have noticed his designer suites, expensive watches and luxury cars.
Pashupati Shumsher Rana, former minister and the head of the royal Rana clan said the news of Prachanda’s new luxury mansion had highlighted the divide between the rich and poor within his Maoist movement.
“Comrade Prachanda has a war chest of more than a billion rupees (£8 million) and has achieved his own particular proletarian dream. It’s just too bad for the rest of his supporters. The whole problem with the Maoist party is that within it are the haves and the have nots. The differences between them are quite remarkable,” he said.