President Bidhya Bhandari’s invitation to former King Gyanendra at her daughter's wedding has sent a significant message

Jan. 21, 2017, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol 10. No. 11,January. 20,, 2017 Magh 07,2073)

In eight years after Nepal was declared a Republic following the ouster of Gyanendra as the last monarch, the former king came out of his isolation to attend a reception hosted by president Bidhya Bhandari, none other than the second president of the Republic, to celebrate her daughter's marriage.

In a sense, it is simply a social event. However, the invitation was a major departure from the official tradition of isolating the former monarch from mingling with the political mainstream. However, President Bhanadri is not the first political leader of the post 12-point agreement to mingle with Gyanendra. Former prime minister and Maoist leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai had visited Komal Rajya Laxmi, the former queen, when she was hospitalized last year.  

At the reception attended by top political leaders and Kathmandu-based diplomats, including Indian ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae, former King Gyanendra shared a chair in the midst of leaders of RPP for a cup of tea.

CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and other party leaders avoided the meeting.

With his elegance as a former monarch, Gyanendra congratulated the newly married couple and President Bidhya Bhandari on the occasion.

The visit of former king Gyanendra got little coverage in the leading media outlets. However, a picture of president Bhandari and former King Gyanendra exchanging greetings went viral in the social media, including Facebook.

At a time when Nepali Congress and Maoist Center are gradually isolating CPN-UML and political parties are losing their popularity, the former king's presence in the wedding reception of former CPN-UML vice chair and current president of the country is politically significant.

The first meeting of the mainstream political parties and former King Gyanendra can be a game changer as CPN-UML leader K.P.Sharma Oli may now cash in on the strength of former monarch to overthrow the ruling alliance.

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