In a major policy shift, Nepal's ruling Maoists will adopt a new path to socialism through capitalism and may also give up their anti-India stance at the upcoming national convention of the party.
Some 2,500 delegates of the ruling UCPN-Maoist will attend the six-day general convention, to take place after a gap of over 20 years, starting on Saturday in central Nepal's Hetauda Municipality in an attempt to revamp the guerrilla group-turned-mainstream political party.
"We will follow 'the path of capitalism' to achieve communism instead of pursuing 'New Democracy' as propounded by chairman Mao Zedong," said Narayan Kaji Shrestha, vice-chairman of UCPN-Maoist and deputy prime minister.
"Opposition to India cannot be a basis of national politics," Shrestha said, hinting at a change of the Maoists' anti-India stance of the past.
"Good relations with our neighbours India and China could be maintained without compromising national independence and securing our authority to decide our fate by ourselves", he said.
The Maoists took up arms in 1996 to fulfill their 40-point demands. Their demands included scrapping of the Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 and banning Indian vehicles and Hindi cinema in Nepal.
Shrestha underlined the need to reorient the ideological course of achieving "socialism through new-democracy" as propounded by Mao in China to achieving "socialism through capitalism".
"We have come to the conclusion that it was not possible to achieve socialism via the model of new democracy in the current global political context," Shrestha said.
As the society has preferred capitalism the party has decided to change its ideological course, he said.
"To achieve this national policy and programmes should be framed and implemented as per the social democratic way while maintaining the spirit of communism," Shrestha said.
"We need to maintain the communist spirit, but programmes should be social-democratic so that we can achieve socialism through capitalism," the Maoist vice-chairman said.