Nepal’s former king issues a veiled warning to the political parties, says he won’t keep mum

In his message issued on the occasion of National Democracy Day, Gyanendra Shah has accused political parties of corruption and misrule, while also calling for coordination between monarchy and political parties.

Former King Gyanendra Shah (R) and former Queen Komal Shah. (Photo: AFP)

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Amid the growing public frustration that the current federal republic dispensation has failed to address the aspirations of the people, Gyanendra Shah, Nepal’s last monarch who ruled the country until Nepal’s Constituent Assembly formally abolished monarchy in 2008, has issued a message in the name of the people which not only warns the political leaders but also tends to capitalize on the growing sense of disillusionment of the people against the system.

While commemorating and acknowledging the contributions of King Tribhuvan for democracy, the former monarch has claimed that since the time of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, Nepal’s monarchical tradition has always been pro-people, pro-democracy and development and welfare-oriented.

The former monarch, recalling the day he handed over power to the people in 2008, has said that Nepal has now fallen into the quagmire of corruption, misrule and social disintegration. “Though the attempts to make the diverse kingdom of Nepal more representative and inclusive are praiseworthy, Nepal today has fallen into the trap of misrule, corruption, despairing economic depression, and social disintegration,” reads the message issued by the former king on Sunday.

Former king has spoken of the youth population dividend but at the same time has also strongly decried the growing tendency of brain-drain caused by lack of opportunities for gainful employment in the country.

The former king has said that the current system has made no significant contribution to raising people’s happiness and nation’s standing. “Political party leaders have fallen into the web of greed and lust for personal gains, petty political interests and nepotism,” he has said. “There is a growing tendency among the political parties to stay silent about the pressing issues faced by Nepal’s poor and middle class people.”

The former king has also expressed his dissatisfaction with the foreign policy conducts of the successive governments. “Exercise of self-centered and immature foreign policy conduct has posed a challenge to Nepal’s sovereign identity,” says the former king. “This is a matter of grave concern.”

The former king has indicated that he will no longer stay silent from now on. “Even during the most adverse conditions and during the times of grief, we did not lose patience and patriotism. We did not leave the country. But we cannot remain silent when the situation of the country is continuously deteriorating.”

The former king also calls for cooperation between the democratic parties and monarchy to save the nation. “Political parties, which are indispensable for democracy, and monarchy with long history and legacy of patriotism, should come together for cooperation based on mutual trust to save this nation without delay,” the former king’s message reads.

Meanwhile, CPN-UML chair KP Sharma Oli has reacted to the statement by the former king. “Were not the kings ruling the country for over 240 years? What had they done?” Oli questioned. “Where had they pushed the country to?” 

On the other hand, Kamal Thapa, the president of Rastriya Prajantantra Party – Nepal, has welcomed the former king’s call for collaboration with the political parties. “The statement of King Gyanendra is relevant,” Thapa said.  However, he also said that the former king should have proposed this idea much earlier. “Such a thought should have come to him long ago. Now it is too late. Much water has flowed in the Bagmati River.”

[Related: Democracy Day being observed: PM Dahal calls Fagun 7 the day of historic significance]