A force to reckon with in the past, pro-monarchists in Nepal are trying to find a footing in changed circumstances after the 240-year-old monarchy ended and the country became a republic in 2008.
As Nepal races to meet the May 28, 2010 deadline for drafting a new constitution, the handful of pro-monarchy parliamentarians hope that they will still continue to matter in 'New Nepal'.
"Due to our negligible presence in Constituent Assembly, our views don't get much importance. But because of our past experience in governance, we are consulted in lot of issues," former Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand told Hindustan Times.
The 70-year-old who had been Prime Minister for four terms during the Shah-dynasty rule is these days busy trying to reunite all the three factions of the pro-monarchy Rashtriya Prajatantra Party.
Formed in 1990 after re-establishment of democracy by the late King Birendra, the three factions of RPP has a total of just 15 members in the 601-member Constituent Assembly. "We still enjoy support of moderate Nepalis who are unhappy with present situation. Once all factions of RPP get united, we are sure to corner a large number of seats in the next election," said Chand.
Although the Kamal Thapa faction of RPP is still seeking restoration of constitutional monarchy, the other two factions are of the view that there is no possibility of monarchy's return.
But Chand feels that the situation would have been different if King Gyanendra were alive. "He knew the pulse of the people and had ordered restoration of democracy in 1990. If he was not killed in the 2001 palace massacre, Nepal would still have had constitutional monarchy," he said.
Nepal is all set for another election once the new constitution is adopted. Only that would decide whether there's any future for pro-monarchists and their ideas in the new Himalayan nation.