We all said that it was a big mistake when Lokendra Bahadur Chand was made prime minister. The king should have corrected his error, he had time to do it. But one fine morning, he woke up and Chand fell out of favour. Now Chand, GP Koirala and the media all have different theories on what led the king to make that move. How Surya Bahadur Thapa succeeded Chand and what role the political parties played is something that is slowly becoming clearer.
We respect Thapa but he is a Panchayat-era leader. To illustrate my point is a modified version of an old tale: King Gyanendra, out on a drive late one night, reached Singha Darbar. "Everyone is on horseback and I have to stand," he heard someone mutter. To his surprise, it was the statue of King Prithbi Narayan Shah. "Bring me a horse right away," Prithbi Narayan ordered. The king called Surya Bahadur Thapa to tell him what happened. Thapa scoffed: "How can a stone statue speak?" but went with the king to see for himself. On seeing Thapa, the same voice said, "I asked for a horse, and you brought me an ass."
If the king carries on his present path, the people will demand a donkey if he brings a horse and vice-versa. In the past, I have counselled the king on the temperament of the people. If the king does not make a timely decision, the people will demand a constituent assembly if he prepares to reinstate the parliament. And when he nods at the constituent assembly, there will be cries for a republic. If the king agrees to that, the people may ask for his exile.
We are pro-monarchy and our party has earned the name of "royal congress". But our colours are changing, and this is something we don't want. Why did the king not invite our party? Why did he remove Deuba? Those were rash moves, and he must be regretting them now. (Excerpted from a speech delivered at the Deuba Congress rally in Kathmandu 13 June.)