King may take over if SPA, Maoists part ways, says Sharma

Coup impossible: UMl leader

Kathmandu, September 22:

A member of the Maoist talks team, Dinanath Sharma, said today that “the King will not hesitate to take over state powers if the SPA and the Maoists break their ties”.

Speaking at a programme at the Reporters’ Club, he said a coup cannot be ruled out in Nepal as long as the feudal institution backed by a traditional army exists.

Sharma said the King will not be able to take over power as long as the seven-party alliance (SPA) and the Maoists remain united and hold a constituent assembly election at the earliest.

“SPA leaders are claiming that upcoming summit meeting will take place on September 28, but we are not sure of it,” he said, adding: “A similar meeting slated for July 21 could not take place because of the SPA leaders.”

“The Maoists wanted the interim constitution promulgated as soon as possible, but the SPA wanted it postponed till the end of Dashain.” “We have yet to agree on the process of a constituent assembly,” he said.

Saying that the Thailand-like coup is not possible in Nepal, given the recent popular uprising, a central committee member of the CPN-UML, Shankar Pokharel, said that King Gyanendra will not dare take over power at a time when his popularity has hit the rock bottom. “The upcoming summit should finalise the interim statute and agree on principle of power sharing between the SPA and the Maoists, the most pressing issue of the talks”.

Law and order situation is deteriorating and the peace process is moving on at snail’s pace, coordinator of the Civil Society for Peace and Development, Dr Sundar Mani Dixit, said, adding the King might take over on the strength of the army. COAS general Rukmangat Katwal cannot be trusted, as he was brought up in the palace by the late King Mahendra, he said.

A security expert, Dr Indrajit Rai, said the situation of Thailand is incomparable with that of Nepal. “Thai King is popular among his people, while it is just the opposite in case of Nepal,” he said, adding the “future of monarchy would be at risk if the King thought of taking over.”