Nepal: 'Royal' king now turns a 'loyal' citizen

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Kathmandu, Jun 12: No servants to woke him up, no one to serve him breakfast.... Nepal's former King Gyanendra has begun life as a commoner after leaving his sprawling palace home and army of servants for the last time. He will have to adjust to living in a former hunting lodge on the outskirts of the capital, after leaving the Narayanhiti palace in the back of a black Mercedes with his wife late Wednesday. On Wednesday several hundred people gathered to watch the Kings departure from the massive complex in the heart of Kathmandu, with most cheering the end of the monarchy, while a handful of royalists wept.

Meanwhile political party leaders have given a mixed reaction to the statement and departure of former King Gyanendra Shah from Narayanhiti Palace. Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML leaders said the former King supported the declaration of republic. However, Maoist leaders alleged that his statement was full of arrogance instead of repentance over his past deeds, Kantipur reported.''The former king's statement was full of feudal arrogance and haughtiness. He did not show sign of repentance over his fascist and dictatorial rule,'' Maoists leader and local development minister Dev Gurung was quoted as saying.''This has shown it will take a long time for the former King to transform into an ordinary citizen,'' he added.

NC General Secretary Bimalendra Nidhi said Mr Gyanendra had made the implementation of the declaration of republic easy by assimilating the decision of the Constituent Assembly (CA). ''Let us not go to what was underlying in the statement,'' he said.

CPN-UML leader Amrit Kumar Bohora said the dethroned King had no choice other than to accept the decision made and evacuate the Narayanhiti Palace.

''It is good to see Mr Gyanendra's exit from Narayanhiti Palace after accepting the CA's decision,'' he said, adding, ''He, however, did not wholeheartedly appreciate the historic achievements made in accordance with the people's desire.'' Former Prime Minister and leader of Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) Lokendra Bahadur Chand said Mr Gyanendra's statement for commitment to stay in the country and serve the nation was a positive one.

''While there was some skepticism, it has paved the way for a peaceful solution,'' he said, adding, ''It is his best effort to clarify to the people about the royal massacre and allegations that he holds huge amount of properties abroad.'' RPP Chairman Pashupati Shumsher Rana said it was a peaceful exit. ''He has accepted the people's verdict and opted for a peaceful exit,'' he said.

Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani, co-chairman of Rashtriya Janashakti Party, said, ''It is appreciable to hear that he wants to stay in Nepal and cooperate with the people for peace and unity in the country.'' However, Rabindra Nath Sharma of Rashtriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, the only party supporting active monarchy in the election, said since Mr Gyanendra was just a representative of the monarchy, he had no right to accept the CA's decision to declare the country a republic.

''The fate of monarchy should be decided by the people directly through referendum,'' he said, adding, ''The CA's decision is illegal.'' Mr Sharma's party could not win a single seat in the election, however, it has four representatives in the 601-strong CA, which were elected through proportional representation system.


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