M A I N   N E W S

Karan Singh returns with hope
Says King will make announcement shortly
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 20
Prime Minister’s Special Envoy Karan Singh today expressed hope that King Gyanendra would make an “announcement” shortly on the political crisis there.
“I am optimistic. I am hopeful that the King will make an announcement shortly. The ball is in the King’s court,” Dr Karan Singh told The Tribune over the phone on his return to the Capital after meeting with the King in Kathmandu this morning.

Declining to give details on the nature of discussions with the King, Dr Singh said India was for democracy and restoration of multi-party democracy.

“We feel concerned over the difficulties of the people — economic and political — and the breakdown of the law and order,” he said.

Sources said the meeting between Dr Singh and the King was “positive” and “this time the King is likely to come forth with some steps rather only promises”.

Sources said India was expecting an announcement for defusing the crisis from the King tomorrow.

The government is monitoring the situation and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is being informed constantly.

If an announcement does not come by tomorrow then the Prime Minister is likely to consult the political parties for deciding the next course of action.

The Prime Minister would brief the political leaders about the prevailing situation and the assessment of the special envoy, sources said.

The King appears to be ready for a role of a Constitutional Monarch but the Maoists are not ready to give him more than a ceremonial status, sources said adding that the political parties are “still” willing to accept the King as a Constitutional Head of Nepal.

The King’s apparent climb-down is because of chain of events in and around Kathmandu, sources said.

Earlier, to a question about what King Gyanendra would do, the special envoy said: “He is the head of the state. He has to play a positive role. I hope he will play a positive role. I found that his attitude was positive.”

Asked how he was “very optimistic” about the King, Dr Singh pointed out that “I never said very optimistic. You added the word ‘very’”.

Dr Singh said “some events” had taken place around Kathmandu that may take the situation “out of hand”.

He said he had delivered Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s letter to the King and highlighted the urgency of taking some steps for democratisation.

He described his meeting with the King as positive saying that he (King) was very receptive.

Karan Singh said he had separate meetings with three leaders — Sher Singh Deuba, Girija Prasad Koirala and Madhavkumar Nepal — yesterday at their respective residences.

He met with Surya Bahadhur Thapa and the King today.

In his one-to-one meeting with the King without any official, Dr Singh said he expressed deep concern over the deteriorating situation.

“Unfortunately there have been some events today around Kathmandu that appeared to have led to some firing.

Huge crowds have gathered around Kathmandu and I only hope that it does not derail the process of normalisation and democratisation.”

Meanwhile, former External Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh is going to Nepal for three days, beginning April 24, in the midst of the current political crisis there.

The BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha would meet King Gyanendra and other political leaders during the visit, which comes close on the heels of the visit by India’s Special Envoy and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran.

The BJP has been consistently supporting constitutional monarchy with multi-party democracy in the world’s only Hindu kingdom.

The party has also been demanding that India provide military assistance to Nepal to counter the Maoists, who it alleged were actively associated with the Naxalites operating in several states of India.


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