Nepal royalist party axes chief after mission failure

May 26th, 2008 - 5:32 pm ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, May 26 (IANS) Kamal Thapa, described as the “bravest man in Nepal” for fighting the election in support of King Gyanendra at a time the nation rooted for a republic, has been given the boot by his party after his mission to rescue the endangered monarch flopped. Thapa, who split one of Nepal’s oldest parties, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, two years ago to take part in the farcical local election held by the king, has been stripped of his post as head of the splinter group after it failed to woo voters and safeguard the embattled crown.

He has been removed as president of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal he founded in 2006 and has had his party membership suspended for six years.

Thapa was also the controversial home minister during the last, turbulent days of King Gyanendra’s 14-month absolute rule.

“There are serious allegations of misuse of funds against him,” said Jagat Gauchan, another former royalist minister and senior member of the party who challenged Maoist chief Prachanda in last month’s election and lost his deposit.

“We contested the election under Thapa’s leadership and won four seats (in the 601-member constituent assembly) under the proportional representation system. But instead of consulting the central committee of the party about whom to nominate, he chose to send his own men and then tried to dissolve the elected central committee when we opposed him.”

Gauchan also said that Thapa’s loyalty to the crown was under suspicion.

“He championed monarchy only after being made minister,” Gauchan told IANS. “Once he left the party to join the Nepali Congress (of prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala). Now he’s hobnobbing with the Maoists.

“Who knows that he will not join the Maoists tomorrow?”

The axe comes after Thapa’s parleys with the top Maoist leaders to give a reprieve to King Gyanendra failed to produce the desired result.

The Maoists have said they would proclaim Nepal a republic Wednesday and force the king to vacate the palace and live as a commoner.

Only a fortnight ago, King Gyanendra had made a rare public appearance to attend the reception for Thapa’s daughter’s wedding.

Besides the failure of his mission, he could have also incurred royal wrath by speaking in support of the Maoists at his last interaction with the media, saying that as the biggest party after the election, they should be allowed to form the new government.

He had also praised the once underground party, which was hunted down during his own ministership, as having matured in language and style since then.

Another veteran royalist, Rajeshwor Devkota, could take Thapa’s place as chief of the royalist party.

Devkota was the chairman of the panchayat, a repressive partyless system of government imposed by the king’s father, the late king Mahendra, when political parties were banned.

Asked if the royalist party would have any future after the royals were gone, Devkota answered in the affirmative.

“We are nationalists,” he said. “The nation would always remain.”

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