King’s address hollow: Parties

Kathmandu, February 1:

Constituents of the seven-party alliance today billed the royal address as an attempt to fool the people.

A statement issued by the Nepali Congress (NC) expressed resentment at the way the monarch has “whipped up the issue of nationalism after taking away democratic rights.”

“NC condemns the views of the monarch that he can launch dictatorship and authoritarianism in the 21st century,” the statement undersigned by NC spokesperson Krishna Prasad Sitaula said, adding: “The fight for total democracy is very much in place.”

The CPN-UML flayed the move as “a tendency on the part of the monarch to give continuity to regression. Nothing can serve the purpose than an end to regressive monarchy,” the statement signed by senior leader of the CPN-UML Amrit Kumar Bohora said. The party also flayed the bid to hold ‘farcical’ municipal elections.

Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi) said that the royal address is similar to the one the successive monarchs came up with on Paush 1 of Bikram Era every year from 1960 to the year the Panchayat oligarchy came to an end.

“The promises made in the speech remind one of the promises made by erstwhile monarch King Birendra to achieve growth rate on a par with Asian standard for 10 years from 1975 onwards,” the statement signed by Khusi Lal Mandal, a central member of the party, said.

NC (D) said that the move points at ambition to be at the helm of affairs while the nation faces additional crisis. “Election to the constituent assembly is the only solution,” the statement signed by Jeevan Prem Shrestha said.

Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party (NWPP) supremo Narayan Man Bijukche said “regression has not been corrected.” The formal reaction will come tomorrow.

Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) central leader Mohan Raj Malla lamented the move, saying “it is a continuity of what happened last year.”

“The consequences of the move could be disastrous. The schism between constitutional forces has certainly widened,” Malla said.

However, Rastriya Janshakti Party (RJP) spokesman Sarvendra Nath Shukla said: “We are studying the address and will come up with a reaction tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, reacting to the King’s address, senior leaders of the agitating parties said that the address was “silent over ending political deadlock” and it was a “continuation of the royal takeover”.

“The address has offered nothing new and it is not even worth commenting,” said standing committee member of the CPN-UML KP Sharma Oli at the Reporters’ Club.

He said the Maoists launched attacks on Tansen last night and destroyed government facilities, even as the King claimed that the “Maoist activities have reduced to sporadic criminal incidents”.

The statements issued by EU and the USA, he said, have termed the King’s one-year direct rule a “failure”.

“The announcement expects the Maoists to surrender to the state. But it is a wishful thinking,” he said, adding: “The Maoist insurgency cannot be settled without talks.”

The announcement has made it clear that the King is not ready to transfer power to the people, Oli said.

Joint-general secretary of the NC Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said the announcement was last year’s continuation that has tried to justify his move.

“The address has dwelt only on the King’s roadmap. It has not addressed the issues raised by the political parties and the Maoists,” Mahat said, adding that the King wanted to hold parliamentary elections within the next year. He said it is impossible to imagine a prosperous country in the 21st century when the King exercises absolute power.

NC (D) leader Homnath Dahal said the King’s address failed to address the problems of conflict. Dahal said intensification of the people’s movement was the only way to restore peace and democracy.