A public felicitation is just a formality. Before going into any such exercise it is necessary to work towards building confidence between the king and the public. Neither Badri Prasad Mandal nor the palace secretariat are in a position to build that trust because they either don't have a feel for the pulse of the people, or the people simply don't believe them.
That is why His Majesty himself must analyse the pros and cons of participating in the public felicitation program [in Biratnagar on Friday]. Even if it is to save one person whose life may be in danger because of his or her participation at the event, why shouldn't His Majesty make an effort? It is important to cast aside the legal and constitutional questions and ask: who wants to mobilise the crowds in the name of the king, and why? Are they doing it for the protection and continuity of the monarchy, or for their own short-term gain?
Given the limited time, only the king can analyse this. An aloof palace secretariat that is divorced from the will of the people cannot do this. The urgent necessity now is to bridge the gap between the king and the political parties, since only that will bolster the strength of the constitutional forces and in turn give legitimacy to future negotiations with the Maoists. Such an alliance of constitutional forces will also convert the Maoists' current modus operandi into an imperative for talks. If the king, can in the next two or three days, take the necessary steps to defuse the situation, then there will be spontaneous public felicitations for him all over the country.