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No Thai royal bash for Nepal King

Gynendra will now have to seek the House's approval to go abroad.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2006 11:18 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Stripped of his powers and facing the abolition of his crown, Nepal's King Gyanendra has been forced to skip the royal celebrations in Thailand starting Friday to commemorate Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 60th year on the throne.

As Thailand fetes the event with a five-day national holiday, feasts and a glittering guest list, including heads of state and representatives of royal houses from 25 countries, neither the Nepal King nor Crown Prince Paras is attending the celebrations due to the changed political situation in Nepal.

With Nepal's Parliament last month axing the King's powers and pledging to slash his allowances, immediate foreign trips are ruled out for Gyanendra and Paras, especially in view of the millions they were found to have squandered from the state exchequer on such visits during the 15 months of absolute rule by the King.

After a nationwide agitation compelled the King to relinquish power in April, Nepal's Parliament, reinstated after four years, proclaimed itself sovereign.

Therefore it is likely that the King would now have to seek the house's approval to go abroad.

With the regulations now governing the crown's activities yet to be worked out fully, the palace probably decided it was prudent to lie low.

Diplomatically too, the trip would have been an embarrassment for King Gyanendra, underscoring the differences between him and the Thai King.

Though both of them ascended the throne unexpectedly after the death of an elder brother under mysterious circumstances, while the Thai King commands immense respect and love from his subjects, the Nepal King is facing a growing demand for the abolition of kingship.

King Bhumibol is the world's longest serving monarch with his reign entering its 60th year.

Gyanendra, who ascended the throne in 2001, ruled the nation for just 15 months after which his throne is on the chopping block.

The Thai King rarely intervenes in his kingdom's politics. But when he does, his voice is respected.

Last year, he took to task Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for attacking his critics, resulting in Thaksin dropping legal action against opposition leader Sondhi Limthongkul.

This week, out of deference to the King, Thai parties feuding over election dates agreed on a weeklong truce.

However, soon after Gyanendra ascended the throne in 2001, he began manipulating the government and last year, seized control through a bloodless coup.

When he called civic elections, it triggered a boycott by the opposition parties and a fresh spate of violent attacks by the Maoist guerrillas.

The international community condemned the King's autocratic rule and put diplomatic visits and agreements on hold during the King's tenure.

First Published: Jun 09, 2006 11:11 IST