Former Nepal king likely to join politics

June 4th, 2008 - 2:16 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, June 4 (IANS) Once regarded as an incarnation of a Hindu god and above all laws, Nepal’s former king Gyanendra is considering floating his own political party after being stripped of his crown by leaders of the new republic. The king’s bitterest enemy, the former Maoist guerrillas who caused the downfall of the 239-year-old monarchy, say they have no objection to the former king becoming a politician.

“It seems that the king has accepted the decision of the constituent assembly to abolish the monarchy,” Maoist chief Prachanda told Japanese daily Yomuri Shimbun.

“If the king honours the verdict given by the people, I feel he can stay on in Nepal. He doesn’t need to flee abroad. He can help the nation by taking up his business interests. He can open a party and contest elections. There is no bar on that,” he added.

Even as Nepal’s official media Wednesday reproduced an excerpt from the interview, in an uncanny coincidence, a private publication also said that the former king had spoken about joining politics.

The Jana Aastha weekly, a regular palace watcher, said Gyanendra had hosted a dinner for close family members Sunday during which his wife, former queen Komal, expressed apprehension about what the future held for her family.

According to the tabloid, the former king asked her not to worry.

“It’s all right. Now that I have become a commoner, I can run businesses,” said the former king, who had been a businessman before he ascended the throne in 2001.

“I can also enter politics. No point worrying.”

According to media reports, the deposed king is mulling about making a public announcement before he exits the palace forever or soon after it.

Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, who had met the former king Monday to discuss his safe passage, later indicated to BBC World Service that Gyanendra was distressed at having been portrayed as a ruthless dictator during his direct rule.

If the former king decides to contest the elections, he will find several royalist parties only too glad to serve him.

In neighbour India, Gyanendra’s relatives, who too were former royals, have become successful politicians.

If the political parties in Nepal continue their fierce squabbling for power at the cost of the people, one day Gyanendra the politician may win the support of the same people who had opposed Gyanendra the king.

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