In troubled kingdom, countdown has begun
When Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Shiv Mukherjee, met King Gyanendra on Sunday, he conveyed a strong message from New Delhi: If the King wanted to salvage what he could of the monarchy, he needed to step back and hand over power to the seven-party alliance of political parties in Kathmandu.Updated: Apr 16, 2006 23:42 IST
When Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Shiv Mukherjee, met King Gyanendra on Sunday, he conveyed a strong message from New Delhi: If the King wanted to salvage what he could of the monarchy, he needed to step back and hand over power to the seven-party alliance of political parties in Kathmandu.
That was the only way he would be able to stem the rising tide of popular unrest sweeping across the Himalayan kingdom, the Indian envoy told him during the meeting, their first in almost seven months. Mere talk of elections would serve little purpose, given the popular outcry against the monarchy itself, he was told. Only by handing over actual power to the political parties and stepping into the background would the monarchy be able to salvage a role for itself in the future. The advice was to hand over power and let the political parties sort out the issue, taking the wish of the people into account.
Though Gyanendra's response was much the same as it has been in the past, with him saying he was always keen to engage with the political parties and encourage democracy, it was unclear if the message had got through. Though nobody quite knows how the situation will play itself out, the future of the monarchy and what little, if anything, it can salvage for itself depends entirely on how the king plays his cards .
Political parties say success round the corner
Life in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal continued to be crippled for the eleventh day on Sunday as the Maoists and members of the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) began their final countdown for the fall of King Gyanendra's "autocratic" rule.
Former Deputy Prime Minister and veteran leader of Communist Party of Nepal (UML) Bharat Mohan Bhattarai told Hindustan Times that they have intensified their pro-democracy movement, and their "goal" was not too far.
"The count-down has begun," Bhattarai said, adding that the 58-year-old monarch, who took over the reins of the country 14 months ago, would soon succumb to the pressure from the people and international communities.
Senior politburo member of CPN (UML) Pradip Nepal said they were confident that the King would capitulate within a week, as several lakh people are on the streets, fighting for restoration of democracy.
Though there has been no official estimation of peoples' participation in the protest, the CPN (UML) members said more than 20 lakh people were directly involved in the protest.
The former Deputy Prime Minister said King Gyanendra had lost his balance, for which, he did not understand the ground circumstances of the country, and the imminent danger before the Royal Palace.
First Published: Apr 16, 2006 23:42 IST