Nepal Maoists fear royalist plot in New Delhi

March 9th, 2009 - 3:00 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, March 9 (IANS) With former prime minister and opposition leader Girija Prasad Koirala scheduled to leave for India Wednesday, Nepal’s ruling Maoist party Monday said a conspiracy was hatching in New Delhi to reinstate monarchy in the new Himalayan republic.

“A new pact is being signed in New Delhi against the Maoist government,” said the Janadisha daily, regarded as the mouthpiece of the former guerrilla party.

“The new agreement among regressive forces is meant to combat the elected Maoist government and democratic forces.”

In 2006, when King Gyanendra was ruling Nepal with the support of the army, stoking further instability and violence in the insurgency-hit kingdom, New Delhi brokered an agreement between the sidelined political parties of Nepal and the underground Maoists which resulted in the ouster of the royal regime.

But three years later, after growing misrule, a crippling power crisis and the Maoist party’s increasing proximity to China while distancing itself from India, the ruling party fears a retaliation by New Delhi.

With deposed king Gyanendra also on an India visit since last month, the Maoists apprehend that the last monarch of Nepal will hold consultations with Koirala and the Indian government and turn the tables on them.

Last week, another influential Nepali politician, who is also a bitter critic of the Maoists, also left for New Delhi, boosting the fears.

Former deputy prime minister and foreign minister K.P. Oli went to New Delhi, apparently for medical treatment. Besides Oli, the chief of Nepal Army, Gen. Rookmangud Katawal, who recently crossed swords with Maoist Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, is also rumoured to be planning a visit to India.

Oli recently lost the tussle for leadership of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), the third largest party in parliament.

The UML’s support is crucial for the Maoist-led coalition to survive. Oli’s defeat came as a relief for the Maoist leadership since if he had won, the UML could have pulled out of the Maoist government.

Maoist Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai Sunday told a mass meeting in Gorkha district in western Nepal that Gyanendra was trying to make his peace with the Indian leaders he had alienated during his 14-month rule.

The Maoist minister said that the former king had admitted his “mistake” in trying to step out of constitutional monarchy and appointing his controversial and unpopular son Paras as the crown prince.

The olive branch was intended to gain India’s support for the restoration of monarchy in Nepal and crowning Gyanendra’s seven-year-old grandson Hridayendra as the child king of Nepal, Bhattarai said.

The Maoist daily Monday claimed that Koirala had received the backing of another former deputy premier, Madhav Kumar Nepal, who stepped down as UML chief last year, and Surya Bahadur Thapa, who was appointed prime minister by King Gyanendra in 2003 and is regarded as being close to the Indian government.

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