Gyanendra’s comeback remark raises storm in political circles, PM warns of stripping ex-king of state facilities

KATHMANDU: Former king Gyanendra Shah has stuck his neck out and set tongues wagging.
Former king Gyanendra’s statement in a television interview yesterday that he would ‘like to make a comeback’ stoked up counter-statements today, and none other than Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai himself was first to fire back. While he warned the deposed king of stripping of his state facilities, he also found a silver lining in his statement.

Inaugurating the Global IME Bank in the Capital today, Bhattarai said the former king’s coup on February 14, 2005 had helped parties forge consensus and that this time around also ‘his statements will help political parties to unite, like in the past’. Warning him to keep a tight rein on his tongue, Bhattarai said, “Political parties will have to reconsider the state facilities that he has been provided with, and as the head of the government, I will take the lead in this regard.” He added that revival of monarchy was impossible as the wheel of history could not be turned back.

Two former prime ministers refuted former monarch’s claim that a deal had been reached with the parties that the country would have constitutional monarchy.

Former prime minister and CPN-UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal denied that any such agreement was reached. “Late Girijababu and I were the two leaders who met Gyanendra on April 24, 2006, but there was no such agreement reached between him and parties,” said Nepal at a programme in Kirtipur today. “It does not suit a former king to make such unfounded claims.”

UML Chairman and former prime minister Jhala Nath Khanal too took exception to the former king’s claim that such a deal was struck. Speaking at a press meet in Dhangadhi, Khanal described Gyanendra’s remarks as trying to cash in on prevailing political crisis. “I don’t have any knowledge of such a deal. If anything was there as he has claimed, he should produce it as proof,” said Khanal, ruling out any possibility of revival of monarchy in the country.

Nepali Congress General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula, a key interlocutor during the peace deal, too challenged former king Gyanendra to produce written proof of what he was claiming. “It’s a baseless claim,” said Sitaula at a programme in the Capital today, adding that Nepali people have already consigned monarchy to history and that Nepali people will never welcome its revival.

Prime Minister Bhattarai, however, admitted that political parties had differences among them. “But all the parties are one on a republican Nepal. Any activity against republican set-up will not be tolerated,” said the prime minister.THT

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