Dahal played to the gallery saying his Maoist party and the RPP may have divergent views but both were “patriots”. He then took a dig at Mainali, saying it was absurd for a republican who once decapitated class enemies to support a return to monarchy.
“Maybe he should be heading the RPP,’ Dahal said, a proposal enthusiastically endorsed by former prime minister and RPP leader Lokendra Bahadur Chand.
Ironically, the debate over secularism and monarchy now threatens the RPP’s own unity because of the defeat of incumbent party chair Kamal Thapa by newbie Rajendra Lingden.
The campaigning itself was fairly civil, with both candidates meeting ex-king Gyanendra separately to seek his blessings. (King G, it is said, nodded sagely and told both to “go ahead”.) Lingden beat Thapa 1,817 to 1,617 on Sunday.
Kamal Thapa served King Gyanendra loyally, and was home minister when security forces cracked down on pro-democracy supporters in April 2006. Obviously, he was not loyal enough to the royal.