Dethroned Nepal king faces fresh eviction

July 14th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, July 14 (IANS) Just over a month after his eviction from the royal Narayanhity palace, Nepal’s dethroned king Gyanendra now faces fresh ouster. The 61-year-old, who spent a grim birthday seven days ago in the remote Nagarjuna summer palace, refusing to come out even to receive greetings from diehard royalists, will be asked to vacate his current residence as well, probably within a fortnight.

The Girija Prasad Koirala government, that stood as a buffer between the last king of Nepal and the blows of fortune, is poised to give way within this week to a new one led by the Maoists, who once waged a savage war seeking to end the country’s 239-year-old line of Shah kings.

The newly-elected constituent assembly, which two months ago formally proclaimed Nepal a republic and asked Gyanendra to quit the Narayanhity palace within 15 days, Sunday gave another jolt to the former royals by approving a change in the constitution.

The amended constitution will now allow the Maoists to form the next government if they can show a simple majority in the house.

When deposed king Gyanendra left the Narayanhity palace, he asked the Koirala government to allow him to temporarily move into the old hunting lodge of his forefathers, the Nagarjuna palace on the outskirts of Kathmandu, till he was able to find a suitable new home.

Though the nod to the request triggered sharp public criticism, the Koirala government said it had okayed it to facilitate the exit of the former king from the royal palace, which, subsequently, became a national museum.

But more than a month after the former king and queen Komal moved into the Nagarjuna palace, there is no sign of their vacating the temporary abode, which has also been taken over by the government.

“We haven’t fixed any time limit for the king’s sojourn in Nagarjuna,” Peace and Reconstruction Minister Ram Chandra Poudel told IANS. “That decision will be taken by the new government.”

Now, with a new, Maoist-led government expected by this week, the embattled former king may have to look for a new home fast.

Maoist chairman Prachanda, who is poised to succeed Koirala as the new prime minister, has indicated that the new government would not be so lenient towards the axed monarch and his relatives.

“After the new government is formed and if I head it, I will answer the query immediately.” Prachanda told IANS, on being asked how long the former king would be allowed to live on in the summer palace.

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