As the president of Nepal Student's Union in 1966, I went with my colleagues to meet BP Koirala. That was when the democracy movement launched by the Nepali Congress was gathering momentum. I clearly remember asking him one question: "What difference do you find between a leader and a king?" His reply is still fresh in mind. "A popularly elected leader has to go to the streets and should be prepared to receive both a bouquet of flowers as well as a garland of shoes. But a king never ventures into the streets and will never accept shoes."
What BP meant was so clear, and it comes in handy while analysing the present political situation. Just because a leader goes to the streets, it does not mean the king's machinery reaches there as well. The king, on the other hand, must resort to summoning the leader to ask why his effigy was garlanded with shoes and his face blackened.
The king has tried to smoothen ruffled feathers by giving the party leaders royal audiences. But of all the politicians only one, Pashupati SJB Rana, sounded positive after meeting the king. If BP had been given a royal audience, he would have taken full advantage of the opportunity. He would have taken further steps by giving new directions to his cadre. Some of the oldest party members like us are disappointed with both Girija and Deuba's statements after their meeting the king.
When BP was granted audience in 1971, would he have asked the king to return his premiership and reinstate parliament? Both Girijadaju and Deubaji failed to follow through on BP's political wisdom. They should have either gone to the king with a national agenda approved by the Nepali Congress or agreed on the seven-point agenda presented by the king and put forth clear ideas of what the Nepal Congress wants.
Girijadaju has to listen to me because I also spent my youth for the party. I was nearly martyred in 1976. Without comprehending your own mistakes and by only raising the issue of parliament, you have not only disappointed and upset your party activists but made them aggressive. Where is your interest in accepting ideas from the new and younger generation of congress workers?
Girijadaju should realise that Nepal's politics has advanced. As for Deubaji, he has to present his ideas clearly to the king as to what kind of difference he will make when he becomes a prime minister. The philosophy of maintaining the status quo will lead us nowhere. Girijadaju has to consider meeting the king once more. And this time he needs to reach a more collaborative conclusion.