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Nepal Maoists fear King coup

Nepal’s Maoists fear that King Gyanendra may still try to make a desperate effort to recapture power by staging a Nepal Army-backed coup d'état, reports Anirban Roy.

world Updated: Jun 19, 2007 05:31 IST

Nepal’s Maoists fear that King Gyanendra may still try to make a desperate effort to recapture power by staging a Nepal Army-backed coup d'état.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala told visiting Pakistani journalists that the status of a ceremonial monarchy in Nepal can be saved if Nava Yubaraj Hridayendra (King Gyanendra’s five-year-old grandson) is coronated as the next King of the Shah dynasty.

The interim parliament on Wednesday passed an amendment to abolish monarchy and establish Nepal as republic with two-third majority if the King is found trying to ‘sabotage’ the holding of the election to Constituent Assembly. The election is likely to be held during the last week of November.

Senior Maoist leader, baburam Bhattarai told Hindustan Times in an interview that King Gyanendra is still keen to reclaim direct rule of Nepal, and may stage a coup with active support of the Army and sabotage the ongoing process of democratisation of the country.

"The long history of Nepal Army shows that it has always been highly feudalistic in character and has always been loyal to the Royal Palace," Bhattarai, a doctorate in urban planning from JNU, said, adding that the Army officials represented the aristocratic class in impoverished Nepal.

In fact, General Rukmant Katwal, the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) of Nepal Army has been very close to the members of Shah Dynasty, and was brought up by King Mahendra (King Gyanendra's father) as his foster son.

The Maoist leader said the Palace and the members of the royal family are not euphoric with the process of rapid democratization of Nepal, as it is all set to bring an end to the 238 years rule of Shah Dynasty.

It is not atypical for King Gyanendra to stage a coup backed by the Army in Nepal. On February 1, 2005, the 59-year-old monarch removed Sher Bahadur Deuba's government and took over the reins of Nepal.

"We will immediately have to withdraw the huge Army deployment from Narayanhity Palace," the firebrand Maoist leader, said. The gorgeous Narayanhity Palace in down town Kathmandu is the castle of the King of Nepal.

Bhattarai, who has been the main crusader for giving shape to Nepal as a democratic republic, questioned the need of such a huge deployment of Nepal Army

anirban20@yahoo.co.uk