Nepal crown prince fit after heart surgery

By Sudeshna Sarkar

Kathmandu,(IANS) Despite trying times for the royal family, Nepal’s Crown Prince Paras, who suffered a major heart attack last month, has passed a stress test with flying colours.

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The 36-year-old, who had to have emergency cardiac surgery last month after a heart attack, checked into the same Norvic Escorts International Hospital Monday morning for tests to monitor his recovery.

The headstrong prince, said to be fond of smoking and a fast lifestyle, underwent a stress test, ECG and echocardiogram.

“He had wonderful results,” cardiologist Bharat Rawat, who was on the panel of specialists treating the heir to Nepal’s endangered throne, told IANS.

“This is the evidence of a good recovery. No further treatment is required now. He can resume his normal activities.”

The Harley Davidson-riding, late-night ‘disco-ing’ prince has now switched to playing golf with top company executives, attending Art of Living courses and giving up drinking, family sources said.

On Monday, he was made to walk a treadmill for the stress test while doctors scanned the ECG to assess if the flow of blood to the heart was adequate.

Last month, he suffered over 90 percent blockage in the right artery.

Paras told the doctors that now he has grown to hate the smell of cigarettes, was finding greater taste in food and was breathing more easily.

Still, with Nepal having started observing its biggest Hindu festival from Friday, doctors have asked him to be careful during the festive fortnight.

“I particularly requested him to maintain a healthy lifestyle as it is not the healthiest during this season,” Rawat said. “Many people watch him as he is a social icon. Thus, his sound health will inspire many others.”

The prince’s recovery will come as good news for King Gyanendra, who has been subjected to a continuous stripping of his social and political powers and privileges since his army-backed government collapsed.

From Tuesday, Nepal’s parliament will begin a debate on the fate of the 238-year monarchy.

If two-thirds of the legislators agree, the house will abolish the crown.

However, the royal family should not be too alarmed as the proposal, tabled by the Maoists, is bound to fail with no major party supporting it.

Last week, India sent a special envoy, who warned the government that if parliament took such a major decision, it would not be accepted by New Delhi.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked the government to hold the stalled elections at the earliest.

The Maoists have warned that if they are defeated in parliament vote, they would pull the Koirala government down. This would then come in the way of holding the polls.

The delay has been showing up the continuous failure of the Koirala government to address key issues like security, the energy crisis, corruption and employment, and strengthening the king’s hand.