09/21/2012, 00.00
NEPAL

Nepal, secular parties against King Gyanendra’s "religious" visit

Kalpit Parajuli
Under the guise of a religious pilgrimage, the former monarch is to visit the districts of Kanski, Myagdi and Parbat in the western region. Local Maoist authorities announce a boycott. Whole villages festively decorated for the arrival of the king. Consensus, especially among the poorer classes of the Hindu religion disappointed by Maoism.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Parties and lay supporters of the Hindu monarchy are colliding over a political tour masquerading as religious pilgrimage that former Sha Gyanendra began yesterday in the districts of Kanski, Myagdi and Parbat in the Western Region. Officials of the Maoist parties and the Congress Party and other formations fear a coup by supporters of the former monarch deposed in 2007, among which the Hindu extremist parties Rastriya Janashakti Party (RJP) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party ( RPP). They accuse the king of having a parallel agenda to seek support in the western region, among the poorest in the country and where in recent months there have been several demonstrations for the restoration of the monarchy. Local sources said that these days, entire cities and villages were festively decorated to celebrate the arrival of Gyanendra.

The great popular census for the king is worrying the secular political formations that rose to power in 2008, after the deposition of the monarchy. The Maoist governor of the district of Parbat announced that block the visit of the former monarch who will not be allowed to give public speeches. The authorities of Myagdi have joined the boycott. Today, even the Maoist Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, warned the former monarch not to hold public rallies, accusing him of exploiting the climate of instability to confuse the Nepalese, who will have to choose a new constituent assembly in a few months. Dilendra Prasad Badu, spokesman for the Conservative Congress Party, said that "the authorities can not tolerate a religious visit on the pretext of creating a monarchist party to nominate for election."

Several analysts point to a growth of Hindu extremism and the emergence of new political alliances between the parties during the civil war who fought on the side of the monarchy and later were excluded from the formation of the new democratic state. The RLL-N draws strength from the current climate of mistrust towards the parties of the Constituent Assembly, divided among themselves, who have failed to reach an agreement for writing the new constitution. The most affected is the Maoist party considered chiefly responsible for the current situation. Between 2009 and 2011, the party of former guerrillas organized several mass strikes that have crippled the economy.

 

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