Breakaway Nepal Maoist calls for alliance with ex-king

Written by: IANS
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Kathmandu, July 24: A call to political parties by a breakaway faction of Nepal's Maoist party to forge an alliance with deposed king Gyanendra Shah "to protect the country's nationality" has alarmed many in the Himalayan nation.

Addressing a press conference here Tuesday, Mohan Baidhya, leader of the the CPN-Maoist, said his party would work will all nationalist forces, including Gyanendra, who carries "true feelings of nationalism".

To remove the centuries-old monarchy, the Maoists - including Baidhya - fought a 10-year civil war in Nepal that left over 13,000 dead. It resulted in Nepal becoming a democracy in 2008.

Baidhya's Maoist faction is also opposing the November polls, demanding the resignation of the Khil Raj Regmi-led government and urging an all-party round table conference.

However, though CPN-Maoist may not have much influence in the coming elections, it could disturb electoral equations, analysts say. Many hardcore Maoist cadres are associated with the party, which split from the mother UCPN (Maoist) a year ago.

"This is a ploy to derail the upcoming polls process," Tarai Madeshi Loktantrik Party leader Hyrdesh Tripathi told IANS.

He added that if the polls are not held, monarchists will gain. "No one can imagine what will happen if polls do not take place in November. We must avoid such kinds of political gaffes," he said.

After Baidhay called for an alliance with the deposed king, former prime minister and leader of the UCPN (Maoist) Baburam Bhattarai also held a press conference at his residence in Kathmandu Tuesday and expressed concern, saying that such a move would put the nation in peril.

"Where will the nation head if people who claim to be revolutionary start talking about a collaboration with the former king," Bhattarai asked during the press conference.

The people are also divided over monarchy, with many believing that the king himself was responsible for his ouster. Some feel monarchy was better than democracy.

Journalist Dhurba Hari Adhikari said: "Political parties made a series of mistakes when Nepal was declared a republic. No one followed any legal procedure."

"Declaring Nepal a republic was a blunder in Nepal's modern history. If we will not correct it, we will meet an accident sooner than later," Nepali Congress leader Sasanka Koirala told BBC in a recent interview.

On the other hand, Gyanendra is trying to regain power by visiting temples and reaching out to the public. He visited western Nepal and distributed relief items to flood victims on Tuesday.

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