`Betrayed` Gyanendra doesn’t rule out some role amid crisis

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 23:52

Kathmandu: Breaking his silence for the
first time after he was deposed two years ago, Nepal`s former
king Gyanendra has suggested that he was "betrayed" by the
political parties, but did not rule out some role for himself
in the future.

62-year-old Gyanendra also said he felt sad over the
abolition of the monarchy but did not feel guilty.

Supporters of Nepal`s former monarch, who is revered
as the reincarnation of the Lord Vishnu, have demanded a
national referendum to decide if the 240-year-old monarchy
should be revived.

Talking to a private television channel, the former
monarch also expressed sadness for converting Hindu Nepal into
a secular state.

In reply to another question, Gyanendra said he might
have to play some role in the future but the time has not yet
come for that.

Whether I will remain a silent spectator to the
current chaotic situation or to play some role it all depends
upon the people, he underlined.

Mass protests against Gyanendra that began in April
2006 finally culminated in the abolition of the monarchy soon
after the CPN-Maoist emerged as the largest party in the April
2008 Constituent Assembly polls.

Gyanendra vacated the royal palace in June 2008, two
weeks after the 601-member Constituent Assembly`s abolished
the monarchy.

Asked if there was a secret agreement between the
political parties and himself to save the monarchy at the end
of the `popular movement` of 2006, he suggested that the
parties welshed on their pledge and betrayed him.

"The agreement has already been made public. I don’t
want to spell it from my mouth at this moment. Many people
have understood that. I leave this to the Nepalese people and
the people should understand that,” he said.

He was "sad" that the a religion (Hinduism) in which
80 percent people have faith has been sidelined in the
country.

Today’s political leaders should consider this issue,
he underlined.

The former monarch said he is now leading a life of a
commoner, facing load-shedding like an ordinary people at the
Nagarjuna jungle lodge, where he has lived since he left the
Narayanhiti Palace in the heart of the capital in June 2008.

I have been paying electricity and drinking water fee
like an ordinary people, Gyanendra added.

Replying to another question, Gyanendra said that
politicians have the right to speak and they have the duty to
listen.

Monarchy did not play popular politics, it always
tried to maintain national unity, he said.

In his new life as a commoner, his day starts at 6a.m.
with prayers. After that, he spent some time with his
grandchildren and also goes for morning walk with his dog.

Gyanendra last week received a "red carpet" welcome by
his supporters at a rare public appearance in western
Nepalgunj town close to the Indian border for a religious
ceremony in the ancient Bageshwori temple. After the religious
function, the former monarch met his well-wishers and
supporters.

Gyanendra has been at the centre of many conspiracy
theories, including the 2001 palace massacre that killed
his popular older brother Birendra along with most of the
royal family by the then crown prince Dipendra, who was
allegedly fuelled by a cocktail of drugs and alcohol.

The deposed king, who has kept a low profile since he
left the palace, kicked up a row in March when he hinted the
monarchy could still be revived if the people wanted.

"Looking at the pages of history of the country,
there have been many ups and downs but it is the people`s
ultimate decision that everyone needs to obey," Gyanendra said
in an earlier interview aired on Avenues Television.

"I don`t believe that the monarchy has ended," he
said.

Political parties have failed to end a deadlock, which
is pushing the country towards a constitutional crisis, if the
term of the Constituent Assembly is not extended beyond May
28.

At a time of growing political uncertainty, the royal
family remains respected among some older Nepalese. Many look
upon the monarchy as an institution that provided stability
and peace to the country for decades.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 23:52

comments powered by Disqus