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King to leave palace?

The Maoist leader had claimed the king would gracefully vacate the royal palace as people of Nepal had given the mandate to turn the country into a federal democratic republic, reports Anirban Roy.

world Updated: Apr 19, 2008 01:48 IST
Anirban Roy

Is King Gyanendra getting ready to vacate the Narayanhity Palace? This is the question, which people of Nepal have started asking after senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai said on Wednesday that the monarch had been given four weeks’ time to vacate.

The issue of the king vacating the royal palace took a new turn on Friday as Annapurna Post, a Kathmandu-based Nepali daily, reported that renovation work at Gyanendra’s private residence in Kathmandu had been intensified.

The Maoist leader had claimed the king would gracefully vacate the royal palace as people of Nepal had given the mandate to turn the country into a federal democratic republic. “If he did not do so (vacate the palace), the people would force him to do,” Bhattarai had said.

The Maoists have agreed to allow Gyanendra and his family to reside in Nepal as ordinary citizens. The former rebels are now planning to transform the palace into a museum.

However, officials in Gyanendra’s secretariat at Kathmandu are tight-lipped. “It is difficult to comment as we do not have any report on the issue,” Sarat Bista, joint secretary (press), said.