-  Saturday 24 October 2020

Nepal King Breaks Long Silence On Coup Anniversary Eve

 -  News Post India

Kathmandu, Feb 01 2008 - On the eve of the third anniversary of his disastrous army-backed coup that triggered an anti-monarchy movement, Nepal's King Gyanendra has finally broke his long silence and said that time would prove him right.

After a long silence following the rapid axing of his powers, privileges and ancestral properties, the king finally spoke his mind in an interview to a Nepali weekly, once known as being close to the palace.

Hari Lamsal, editor of Rastravani, the weekly that published the scoop interview with the king, said the king spoke to him for over an hour.

King Gyanendra, who faces an election in 69 days when the centuries-old crown of his ancestors might be axed to make way for a federal republic, told the editor that he wouldn't flee Nepal, come what may.

'I will stay in this country,' said the king, who last year was advised by the prime minister to leave the country.

The interview, published Wednesday, hints at a secret understanding between the king and the opposition parties.

Gyanendra, who seized absolute power on Feb 1, 2005, was forced to step down in April 2006 after nationwide protests led by the opposition parties and the Maoists. It was whispered that the parties had secretly agreed to support a ceremonial king in return for power handover.

The reports seemed to be borne out by the government's failure to hold elections in June last year and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala advocating a ceremonial king and then suggesting that the king and his son, Crown Prince Paras, abdicate in favour of the king's baby grandson Prince Hridayendra.

'Don't ask me about the pact now,' the king told Lamsal. ''Both the parties and I know what was in it.

'If things do not go according to that roadmap, I will speak out.'

The king, whose coup isolated him in the international community, said his step three years ago would be proved right by time.

'Democracy has weakened (in Nepal),' the king said. 'So it is necessary to strengthen the bond between monarchy and democracy.'

Gyanendra dismissed the new change in the constitution last year after parliament voted to proclaim Nepal a federal republic.

'Does the constitution say that?' he asked. 'I haven't even tried to figure out what it says.'

In the interview, the king, who could be the last monarch of Nepal, said he had faith in the people.

'Nepali people have a large heart,' he said. 'They can accommodate all Nepalis (including the king.)'

Defending his power grab as done in accordance with the constitution and people's yearning for peace, he claimed it was a democratic move.

Saying 'silence is also action', the king said he had kept quiet so that the peace pact between the new government and the Maoist rebels could succeed.

However, now it was time for Nepalis to speak out on the turbulence in the country and the direction it was heading towards.

The man whose political ambition endangered his 239-year dynasty claimed in the interview that Nepal's kings had always acted as per people's wishes.

'The crown never sought power,' said Gyanendra who had stepped out of constitutional monarchy to head the government directly.

'The crown is older than the unification of Nepal.

'If (my forefather) Prithvi Narayan Shah had not unified Nepal, where would we be today?'

The interview is being regarded as a calculated move by the king to gauge the reaction of the people, who are fed up with the government's failure to provide security, control inflation and corruption, and resolve a mounting fuel and power crisis.

The last time the king had issued a public message defending his coup, it had triggered intense anger from the Maoists and ruling parties with parliament ordering the king's inherited property to be brought under state control.

Source : News Post India

Other articles by reporter News Post India

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