Ex-Nepal king’s son-in-law ready to mediate with Manmohan

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : Undeterred by the bad publicity that dogged him after being arrested by police for disorderly conduct in a night club after closing hours, Nepal’s deposed king Gyanendra’s son-in-law Raj Bahadur Singh is now ready to mediate with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Support TwoCircles

The 34-year-old businessmen, whose deals became controversial during the absolute reign of his father-in-law, leaves for New Delhi Thursday as a representative of the political party he has joined recently in the hope of being granted a meeting with the Indian premier Saturday.

He is accompanied by Hari Charan Shah, president of the Nepali Janata Dal, a fringe party that he joined this month.

The party, that has two MPs in the 601-member parliament, has been supporting the Maoists during the ongoing elections to choose a new prime minister though the former guerrillas spearheaded a 10-year war that led to the abolition of monarchy in Nepal.

The third member in the Delhi-bound trio is former royalist minister Gore Bahadur Khapangi of the Rastriya Janamukti Party that too has two MPs in parliament.

Though Khapangi was nominated minister by King Gyanendra, his party however has been supporting the Maoists during the prime ministerial elections.

Shah said the visit intended to create better ties between India and Nepal and take the stalled peace process forward. Party members say that the team will seek to persuade the Indian leaders to show more flexibility and softness towards the Nepal Maoists.

While the meeting with Manmohan Singh is yet to be confirmed, Shah said they will also meet Indian leaders Sharad Yadav, Digvijay Singh and Ram Vilas Paswan.

The Nepali Janata Dal is seeking to give the former king’s son-in-law an image makeover.

“The reports of his arrest by police and subsequent detention in a police station (for refusing to shut down the night club in Kathmandu he owns after the legally prescribed opening hours) were distorted due to political motives,” the party said.

“He has sworn to mend his old ways.”

The party also said that the philanthropic work of Raj Bahadur Singh had been ignored by the media.

“He gave NRS 1 crore to help victims of the Kosi flood,” the party said. “He has also been carrying out development activities in his home district Bajura.”

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at [email protected])