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A Citizen, Turned Monarch, Becomes a Politician?
[Opinion] A look at the former Nepal monarch's next move
Kishor Panthi (kishor)     Print Article 
Published 2008-07-14 09:51 (KST)   
This article is only lightly edited.  <Editor's Note>
Gyanendra Shah had all of a sudden become the king after the bloody massacre in the Narayanhity Royal Palace in 2001 in which his elder brother and the then King Birendra Shah and all his family members were killed mysteriously. The king who was a veteran businessman could not be as successful in politics as he was in business. Therefore, he was swept away by people's power with the declaration of Nepal as a republic by over throwing the 240 years monarchy.

Curiosities prevail everywhere about next steps of the former king. Though he has not cleared his plan for future, the dethroned monarch , in the statement that he read during the press conference has clearly stated --" I would like to live in my own motherland and contribute in whatever way possible to the greater good of the country and peace in this land."

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However, he is not clear about whether he will actively be involved in party politics or not.

Property Disputes

Despite all the rumors about Gyanendra's possibilities to go to India for shelter, he has been staying in the Nagarjun palace which had been used to by himself at the time of his reign and that has been nationalized as national heritage recently by Nepal government. The royal office as well as the former king's palace has been evacuated and the government has decided to turn the palace into a national Museum. However , the mother of Gyanendra, Ratna Shah and his grandmother have been provided the Mahendra Manjil , section of Narayanhity for shelter for a time being.

Gyanendra was the billionaire owner of Surya Nepal, Soltee and some other hereditary and personal property. However the government has provided him a house to live in. Though he has been staying in the house managed by the government, he has expressed his wish to have rights to maintain private property according to the law.

One of the major political parties Communist Party Of Nepal (Maoist) has claimed that Gyanendra has owned billions of dollars worth property in the foreign countries which Gyanendra has openly refused in his statements. However the CPN (Maoist) has declared that the new government will investigate and find the facts out about his property.

Royal Massacre Probe

Former king has denied the blame leveled at him for the royal palace massacre by CPN (Maoist). But the senior Maoist leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has informed that the event will be probed again by the newly formed government. Dr. Bhattarai had firstly publicly accused Gyanendra Shah of being involved in the royal massacre 2001. And now Dr. Bhattarai and his party has declared that the dethroned king would help probing the incident.

The probe committee formed just after the royal massacre had given clean cheat to the then King Gyanendra, however, Dr. Bhattarai has said that King Gyanendra had been involved in the incident in co-operation with CIA, so the incident must be probed again by the new government which is going to form in the leading of CPN (Maoist).

Monarch to Politician?

The source closer to Gyanendra has revealed that though there are rumors about Gyanendra to come to active politics he is unlikely to be involved in party politics. Ex-monarch in his press statement has made commitment that he would not leave the country, but would rather work for the promotion of nationalism, peace and prosperity. His commitment to live within the country and contribute in whatever way possible to the greater good of the country and peace has hinted that he might come to active politics.

The president of CPN (Maoist) Puspa Kamal Dahal Prachanda has expressed his views that the dethroned king will have right to open political party and involved in the politics as other citizens.

A close political adviser and the home minister of Gyanendra's government after the political coop in 2002 has stated that the ex-king is unlikely to open a new party and be involved in party politics. He has even strongly suggested the dethroned king not to be involved in party politics. Thapa is still of the opinion that monarchy should be restored. If the ex-king joins party politics it will be difficult to restore monarchy. Therefore he suggests ex-king not to join party politics.

If ex-king does so the principle of monarchy will be dismissed. He still shows the importance of monarchy and has expressed his commitment to restore monarchy. But he strongly denies ex-king's involvement in party politics.

Restoration of Monarchy?

In the meeting with the chairman of CPN (Maoist) Puspa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, the former king's messenger Kamal Thapa had said that the country would have a terrible consequence if it was declared republic. Now also, he tries to prove the relevance of his previous opinion. He says, "There are indications for restoration of monarchy in Nepal."

In this context of his close people advising him not to be involved in active politics, the ex-king is unlikely to take part in politics. However, he is likely to help those groups who are struggling for restoration of monarchy. According to the monarchists, ex-king will not form away new political groups or parties, rather he will continue to support the earlier political parties which are pro-monarchist. These parties have still been trying to convince that a favorable condition to restore monarchy can be created. From the close sources of ex-king Gyanendra it has been known that he wants to continue his previous business maintaining his identity as a former king rather than as an active politician.

Kishor Panthi is a news anchor and editor for SAGARMATHA Television in Kathmandu.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Kishor Panthi

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