July 10, 2012 1:16:58 am
With Nepals political parties unable to deliver a constitution within a stipulated time frame,former King Gyanendra has spoken out in favour of the restoration of the monarchy. In a rare interview to News 24 television channel late Sunday night,the former king said restoring the monarchy would ensure unity in the country.
He said a referendum to decide the fate of monarchy was not a good idea. The process of referendum itself will have two sides: For and against. The monarchy should be above controversy and political division, he said,adding,there was no referendum conducted when I was ousted.
The interview prompted a strong reaction from the Maoist party. He is trying to fish in the troubled waters, said Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai,warning Gyanendra to desist from making such remarks. The former king does not seem to have learnt any lessons, Bhattarai said. He will have to lose whatever facilities he was enjoying.
Gyanendra appeared reflective,refusing to speak directly against political parties,often telling the interviewer not put words in my mouth. When asked if he had any regrets over the role he played in politics in 2005,he said,Yes but did not elaborate. However,the former king did say that he gave up the throne easily because he thought the country would remain united and prosperous. That did not happened. In fact,things are much worse today, he said.
The interview was given at the end of his five-day tour in western Nepal during which people lined up in thousands to greet him complaining about law and order problems. Even at the time I left the palace,I had raised certain issues. I had said I would always work for the country and nationalism,and that I will not leave the country under any circumstances, Gyanendra said.
He also said that a seven-party alliance had on April 24,2006,reached an agreement to retain constitutional monarchy. I do not know why that not honoured, he added. The former king hinted that the Maoists might have played a part in the agreement not being implemented. Nepali Congress general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula,for his part,challenged Gyanendra to provide evidence of the alleged agreement between Nepali Congress and six other parties to retain the monarchy.
When asked if he regretted the fall of monarchy after 240 years in power,he replied,Some times it may be better to lose or face defeat. Who knows it may turn into a larger victory in the long run.
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