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Prachanda (prăchän´də) [the fierce one], nom de guerre of Pushpa Kamal Dahal (pōōsh´pä kəmäl´ dəhäl), 1954–, Nepalese military and political leader, prime minister of Nepal (2008–9). Born into a Brahmin family, he earned a degree in agriculture and taught agricultural science. Politically a Communist, he became a member of the militant Maoist Communist party, rose rapidly in it, and soon was living underground. By the 1990s he had become chief military strategist and supreme commander of Nepal's Maoist rebels, and beginning in the mid-1990s he led a guerrilla insurgency. After a decade of bloody warfare and protracted negotiations, the rebels joined the government in 2006. In Apr., 2008, the Maoists won more than a third of the constituent assembly seats, and in Aug., 2008, Prachanda became prime minister. He resigned the following May when the president reversed his firing of the head of the army.

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