The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India urged to reassess response
- Parties call for Delhi backing

Kathmandu, April 22: The constituents of the seven-party alliance have described India’s quick support for King Gyanendra’s offer as completely off-tack and want it to make a course-correction .

Although claiming that India seemed ignorant of the peoples’ sentiment in Nepal, they have left the door open for New Delhi to reassess the situation and take corrective action.

They want India to come out in favour of the democratic aspirations of the people and not be seen to be supporting the king. India must recalibrate and reassess its response, most political leaders here felt. Just as the peoples’ heightened sentiments have forced them to reject the king’s offer, they are hoping that Delhi would also not remain oblivious to the sentiment on the streets of Kathmandu.

How much ground India can retrieve at this stage is not very clear. There are people here, however, who claim that with its hasty reaction Delhi seems to have lost the chance to stem anti-India sentiments in Nepal for years to come.

Much as Delhi might argue that there was an element of sincerity in what it did ' posing the issue as “compromise with the king vs. chaos”' this does not was with the Nepalese. The Nepali Congress had criticised the Indian reaction last night itself. Today, the other constituents of the seven-party alliance joined them.

“Our friends, without talking to us decided to welcome the king’s move. This is not good. India must correct this. India has no monarchy and, therefore, has no experience of this kind of deception. When the people of Nepal are rejecting the king’s offer, how can India go against their democratic wishes'” asked K.P. Oli, senior leader of the Nepal Communist Party (United Marxist Leninist).

Rajendra Mahto of the Nepal Sadbhavna Party (Anandi Devi), which largely represents Nepalese of Indian origin, shared his sentiments.

“India must rethink its position. The king’s statement is meant to confuse the international community. Not only India but the international community must examine its pros and cons again and support our democratic movement,” Mahto argued.

Instead of going on the front foot to attack India, the political parties are hoping that India will eventually come out on their side.

Some of them recognise that India might have wanted a marginal role for the king. But they themselves are unable to ignore the sentiment against the institution of monarchy on the street.

C.P. Mainali, leader of the United Left Front, found India’s reaction inexplicable. “They knew what the agenda of the seven-party alliance for restoration of democracy was. Why did they think we would accept the king’s offer when he did not address our key issues'

“And even if we did, why did they think the people of Nepal would accept it'”

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