Kathmandu, Nov 10: Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has sharply criticized former King Gyanendra Shah, and warned him that he could lose the “state sponsored” privileges.
Bhattarai’s stinging remarks came in response to Shah’s statements on Nov mber 6 that the current political leaders in the country have become ‘short sighted’.
In that same speech, made in the southern town of Parasi, Shah had further stated that the monarchy was the country’s only solid base and that without this foundation the country was sure to collapse.
The former king has been living in a modest residence on the outskirts of Kathmandu ever since he was ousted in 2006. He has generally kept a low profile, but has spoken out from time to time. His latest speech, in which he also warned the people to be wary of every decision taken by the political parties, was one of his boldest.
Previously, whenever he criticized the political process, politicians had asked him not to ‘meddle’ in Nepal’s political affairs.
In April, former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal had also threatened that the government could put the former king in prison if he did not stop his ‘reactionary activities’. He also asked the former king to join electoral politics or spend his time with religious matters rather than make any attempt to revive the monarchy.
The former king still appears to have some support in the country. During the Dashain (Dusshera) celebrations, thousands gathered almost spontaneously when he came to make his offerings to a local deity. By contrast, the President, who also come to make his offerings to the same deity a few hours earlier was not well received and local residents complained that his motorcade was the largest that they had seen.
Thus far, the former king has not made his intentions clear. Other people, such as Kamal Thapa, who was the last Home Minister before the royal regime collapsed, has advocated forcefully against the republican order and for turning the country back into a Hindu Kingdom. The former king, however, has kept his distance from Thapa in public. By Manish Gyawali (ANI)