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Ex-king Gyanendra gets `red carpet` welcome amid pol crisis

Last Updated: Sunday, May 23, 2010 - 18:47

Kathmandu: Nepal`s deposed king Gyanendra
received a "red carpet" welcome by his supporters at a rare
public appearance Sunday the political parties failed to end
the deadlock, which is pushing the country towards a
constitutional crisis.

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 monarchy should be
revived.

Hundreds of supporters thronged the airport to welcome
the former king Gyanendra, who arrived in the eastern
Nepalgunj town close to the Indian border for a religious
ceremony in the ancient Bageshwori temple today.

The 65-year-old ex-king is scheduled to perform pooja
in Bageshwori Temple, Sagar Timilsena, Shah`s personal
secretary, was quoted as saying by the media today.

After the religious function, the former monarch will
meet his well-wishers and supporters, he said.

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.

Many ordinary Nepalese were delighted to see the back
of the dour, unpopular king as well as his son Paras.

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 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: Sunday, May 23, 2010 - 18:47

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