Kathmandu, January 29:

Various leaders of the agitating political parties said today that the King’s one-year of direct rule has been a total failure to restore peace, control corruption, provide good governance and maintain fiscal discipline — the four issues the King gave reasons while assuming executive powers on February 1 last year.

“The King has become a failure in his mission for which he had assumed power,” said Nepali Congress leader Mahesh Acharya at the Reporters’ Club. He said the country’s economic growth has been less than the population growth and the foreign reserve has gone down. He said nobody could expect fiscal discipline and good governance in the absence of a government accountable to people.

Acharya said the King had assumed powers to restore peace but he did not even take positively the 12-point understanding reached between the parties and the Maoists. “The King turned a deaf ear to friendly countries’ calls for rapprochement with political parties,” he said. He said that the problem would not be resolved unless the King transferred power to the people.

CPN-UML central member Shankar Pokharel said the government’s negative stance on parties-Maoists understanding, formation of Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC), interference on the judiciary and the media all proved that the King’s direct rule was not aimed at restoring peace and democracy, but at continuing his authoritarian rule.

He said the King’s foreign policy has also been a failure as neutral countries such as China and Japan have also asked him to reach out to political parties. Pokharel said the Army has lost its image at the international level due to its involvement in human rights violation.

Nobody would be surprised if the RNA was barred from taking part in UN peacekeeping missions, he said. “But one of the positive developments during the period is that the democratic forces have come together for democracy because of the King’s autocracy,” he said.

Security expert Dr Indrajit Rai said despite increment in the number of security personnel, security situation has not improved as expected. “But what is true is that the Maoists have not been able to take on any barracks for the last six months and they have not been able to get hold of any area,” he said. He, however, conceded that the government could not provide enough security in the run-up to the civic polls despite its claims that it would do. The Maoist attack on Thankot police outpost was a setback on government’s intelligence.

Khem Raj Bhatta Mayalu of the Nepali Congress (Democratic) said the takeover was an attack on the Nepali people’s sovereignty. He said the main goal of the 12-point understanding was to bring the Maoists into political mainstream but the King did not digest it. “Had the Maoists returned to peaceful politics, the King’s autocracy would not have lasted long,” he said.

Spokesperson for the Rastriya Janashakti Party Sarbendra Nath Shukla said people did not feel secure even after the takeover. He said incidents of crimes have increased in the Terai region due to the absence of security personnel. He said the scheduled civic polls would widen the gap between the palace and the parties.