MONARCHY The Red ‘U-Turn’


Sept. 3, 2010, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.: 4 No.-07 September 3-16, 2010 (Bhadra 18, 2067)

Prime ministerial aspirant Maoist chief Prachanda ‘admits’ that the monarchy should not have been overthrown. He favours the revival of the 240-year old institution as ‘cultural monarchy’. So claimed the chief of the royalist RPP-Nepal boss, Kamal Thapa. The claims have not been denied yet.

Although the after days of indiscreet silence, Maoist vice chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha denied reports of the party’s green signal to the revival of monarchy, he did not deny the specific reports attributed  to Prachanda.

Shrestha’s general denial also came only after the central committee members pressured the leadership to come clean on the issue.

Instead of coming clean, the Maoists have only helped to bolster the claims that they have sought to deny.

Said Shrestha, “we are open to alliance with former royalists” provided they are patriotic and progressive.

Even as the Maoists’ reluctant denial for public consumption came, reports started circulating that 

Prachanda’s comrade-in-arms in the UML, Jhalnath Khanal, has conveyed the same message to an influential individual close to the ousted king Gyanedra.  Another prime-ministerial aspirant Khanal is also said to have asked for a favour to deliver his ‘olive branch’ to Delhi. The report too has not been countered yet.

Amidst these reports caretaker prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal challenged the Maoists to come clean. He raised the issue in a meeting with Prachanda. The latter reportedly kept mum even as his critic, Baburam Bhattarai, responded with a sarcastic smile.

The fresh reports have coincided with series of visits of former king and crown prince to temples and shrines amidst ‘huge’ crowd. There have also been subsequent interviews by former crown prince Paras. In one interview,  he  gave ample hints of having met Prachanda – the man who claims to have ushered in a new era in Nepal’s history by forcing a republic.

 The UCPN and the UML are the two biggest communist parties. Firebrand republicans Prachanda and Khanal head the red outfits.

If they are taking a u-turn, can the future politics follow a normal turn, wondered analysts.

They wonder if the RPP-N chairman Kamal Thapa is on target when he  was reported as saying that the external forces that brought the anti-king forces together to overthrow the monarchy can re-instate it too.


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