Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
King Gyanendra

The king justified his February First takeover by saying that the party leaders had failed to even produce hope for a better future. The international community took a wait-and-see position. After seven months, however, the king has not only proved more unsuccessful than the party leaders but has manoeuvred himself into such a situation that he is politically isolated. The gap has grown between the palace and world leaders.

Most of the countries that support people's democracy have become suspicious of the king's intentions. His efforts to control corruption have been deemed ineffective and politically influenced. There is no sign of peace returning. With rise in prices of all basic commodities, public dissatisfaction towards the king is also mounting. His efforts to gain international support have been in vain. Even the US government, which formerly appeared positive towards the palace, has started to speak out and is now looking for alternative ways to return the country to democracy.

Washington will not leave any stone unturned to put more pressure on the king. Always strongly opposed to the Maoists, the US government is against the parties' move to align with the rebels. But sources say that political leaders and civil society activists have been actively lobbying the US to support such an alignment, as the EU has always done. Even India has been disappointed with the palace, especially with the anti-India publicity and secret purchases of arms from China. The king, who seems alarmed that the democratic movement will grow, has few alternatives given the pressure from the United Nations, the US, aid agencies and the European Union to restore 'loktantra'. It has become clear that he cannot survive with backing solely from non-democratic countries such as Pakistan, China, Russia, North Korea and Burma.

The palace is now trying to find ways for the king's safe exit. General elections, the restoration of parliament and a cabinet reshuffle are all being carefully planned. The king strives to give the impression that he will accept a supporting role not because of pressure from the parties or others, but by his own free will. Yet he remains unwilling to completely hand over the government to the people. However, if the king wants to save the monarchy from serious mishap, he has no choice but to sacrifice his direct rule. The question is: will the extremist camp in the palace allow him to do so?

Question to the king
Janmanch, 11 September
Narpratap Sen

There was an overwhelmingly positive response from the public when the king made his brave move on February First, especially because people were tired of the frequent changes of governments led by the political parties. But on 1 February, all that changed. Many capable people who could have assisted the king were all sidelined and the wrong ones were brought in to join the government. Why was it so necessary for the king to appoint them?
All those chosen for the king's governmenthave been out of touch for such a long time that they still believe in doing things the old way and don't understand that times have changed. And are these the people the king trusts so much? Everyone is asking the same question. Our annoyance knows no bounds when we think about Singha Durbar. Even genuine supporters of this government today are fed up and the reasons are obvious: the king is surrounded by sycophants. Take a recent act by new Chief Secretary Lokman Singh Karki. During an address to government officials he said, "Unless you show your loyalty towards the crown, I can't be on good terms with you." Really? Has any secretary, under-secretary, director or any senior government official ever expressed distrust towards the crown? It would have been better if Karki proved his loyalty by boosting the morale of government staff.

Why were people like Madhukar Shamsher, Durga Shrestha, Ram Narayan Singh, Khadag Bahadur GC, Senate Shrestha and Jagat Gauchan made ministers? Who was responsible for their appointments? Putting such people in government has resulted in the anger on the streets. How trustworthy is Ramesh Nath Pande? What roles have people like Salim Miya Ansari, Badri Mandal and Radhakrishna Mainali played so far? The king is only burdening himself by surrounding himself with people of such bad repute. He should no longer be impressed with people who praise him unnecessarily. There are tens of thousands of intelligent and efficient Nepalis who could assist him to move in the right direction. Instead, he has greedy, despicable, disreputable, sinful, useless and slave-minded people at his side.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)