Nepal`s deposed king steps up public appearances amid crisis

Nepal`s deposed king Gyanendra has stepped up his public appearances amid the constitutional crisis in the country.

Kathmandu: Nepal`s deposed king Gyanendra
has stepped up his public appearances amid the constitutional
crisis in the country, making a rare visit to a religious
ceremony on the outskirts of the capital today that was marred
by a scuffle between his aides and mediapersons.

65-year-old Gyanendra attended a `mahayagya` and
offered puja at Bhaktapur`s Latarembheswor Temple, which is
some 25-km east of Kathmandu.

He has kept a low profile since he left the
Narayanhiti royal palace in June 2008, when the country`s
Constituent Assembly voted to abolish the centuries-old
monarchy and declare a republic.

However, the former monarch has lately increased his
appearances at public and religious functions, including
visiting important temples across the country amid pomp and

Supporters of the monarchy in Nepal, where kings have
been revered as the reincarnation of the Lord Vishnu, have
demanded a national referendum to decide if the monarchy
should be revived.

Even Gyanendra has hinted that the monarchy may one
day be restored. In an interview aired last year, the deposed
king did not rule out the revival of the monarchy if the
people believed the institution was important for the country.

Mass protests against Gyanendra, who became the king
in 2001 after the death of his elder brother Birendra in a
palace massacre, finally culminated in the abolition of the
monarchy soon after the United CPN-Maoist emerged as the
largest party in the 2008 assembly polls.

The visit to the Latarembheswor Temple, where the
former king arrived today to offer prayers, was marred by a
scuffle between the security personnel and journalists seeking
to get the monarch`s view on the current crisis in the

Some half a dozen journalists were injured and video
cameras broken, according to sources. Journalists have
demanded action against the aides of the former monarch who
allegedly beat up journalists.

The high-profile public appearances of Gyanendra comes
amid a deepening constitutional crisis in the country due to
the failure of the political parties to elect a new premier
following the resignation of Madhav Kumar Nepal.

The country has been in political limbo since the
resignation of Nepal, who is currently heading a caretaker

A run-off poll for the post of Prime Minister ended in
a fiasco on July 23, with both Maoist supremo Prachanda and
his Nepali Congress rival 65-year-old Ramchandra Poudyal
failing to get a majority support in the 601-member
parliament. The House will hold yet another election on August 2.