Since being sidelined by the Seven Party Alliance (SPA), Nepali King Gyanendra made his first appearance in connection with a Hindu festival Vasanta Panchami but government officials and politicians who traditionally the attend the festivities remained aloof. The usual lines of people who lined up Katmandu’s Durbar Square were also absent and it is not clear if it because of their disaffection for Gnanendra or prohibitory orders by the government. However, Army officials saluted him and played the old pro-royal national anthem which will be replaced shortly.
Nepali Hindus believe that their king is a living incarnation of Vishnu, the Hindu God Protecting all beings. However, his track record has been anything but benign or righteous. His son, who was the Crown Prince, has been accused of several extra-judicial activities and is considered more of a rogue than divinity.
There is disagreement within the government on the role of the King. The Maoists want the 238 year old Shah dynasty to be scrapped, the national anthem changed, and all royal vestiges destroyed. However, some within the SPA want the royal dynasty to remain in a ceremonial role and others want a system where a king may be elected. All these disagreements are to come to head by June when the nation will go to polls and a new Constitution that settles all these differences will be presented.