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Nepal: Maoist chief to persuade King to step down peacefully

Source: PTI
April 19, 2008 15:09 IST
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Maoist chief Prachanda is ready to meet Nepal's King Gyanendra to persuade him to quit the palace as the monarch made it clear that he has no immediate plans to take refuge in India.

"We will give yet another surprise to the world by peacefully negotiating the King's exit from the palace," Prachanda told The Kathmandu Post. "If necessary I am even ready to meet him".

The Maoist supremo said the King would be allowed to do business or other activities, including politics, if he desired so.

His remarks came as the royal palace said the King has 'no immediate plans either to vacate the Narayanhity Palace or leave the country to take refuge in India'.

"It will be premature to think about that, let the legal procedure takes its course," a palace official said when asked about reports of the beleaguered monarch planning to leave the country following the unexpected victory of Maoists in the April 10 Constituent Assembly polls.

Prachanda said he has started consultations with various political party leaders and diplomatic missions about a graceful exit for the King that would end the 240-year-old rule of the Shah dynasty.

The King should not be ousted from the throne in a humiliating manner as it would have negative impact at home and abroad, he said.

The ruling multi-party alliance, including Maoists, has agreed to formally abolish monarchy through voting during the first meeting of the 601-member elected assembly. Though the Maoists are close to victory in the April 10 election, it is unlikely they will get absolute majority.

It will take about a month to convene the first meeting of the assembly, analysts say. The Maoists are eager to lead the new government and have already started consultations with other major parties.

Meanwhile, Gyanendra, whose powers have been drastically cut, spends most of his time in the palace reading newspapers, watching TV and surfing internet, sources said.

He keeps abreast with the latest developments around the world and does not miss any international media report on Nepal, they said.

As the Maoists earlier gave a deadline of one month to the King to leave the Narayanhity Palace, there were reports in local and international media that he might be seeking refuge in India, probably in Rajasthan.

There were also reports that the King's private residence 'Nirmal Niwas' located at Maharajgunj, two kms north from the palace, is being cleaned up for monarch to shift there.

The palace sources, however, said it was normal for the King to move between Nirmal Niwas and the palace.

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