Gyanendra


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Gyanendra

(gyänĕn`drə), 1947–, last king of Nepal (2001–8). Second son of King Mahendra (r. 1955–72) and brother of King Birendra (r. 1972–2001), Gyanendra was a businessman whose assets included a hotel, tea estate, and cigarette factory and was also an adviser to King Birendra. Gyanendra became king in June, 2001, when Birendra and other royal family members were murdered by Crown Prince Dipendra, who was apparently distraught over royal disapproval of his choice of a wife. Under Gyanendra, Nepal's long-simmering Maoist insurgency worsened, and conflicts between the monarchy and Nepal's fractious politicians complicated the situation. In 2005 he assumed complete executive powers, arrested many politicians, dissidents, and others, and declared a state of emergency. The royal coup led to increasingly confrontational protests, and the king ended absolute rule in 2006. The reinstated parliament quickly reduced the king to a figurehead and subsequently signed a peace accord with the rebels. In 2008 the monarchy was abolished by the constituent assembly elected to write a new constitution.
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The popularity of the monarchy plummeted further after Gyanendra seized control of the country by using the military to stage a bloodless coup on Feb.
The move threatened to trigger a fresh crisis in the Himalayan nation, where King Gyanendra assumed the throne after the previous king and eight members of the royal family were gunned down last year by the crown prince, who then took his own life.
In August last year, the government nationalized seven palaces, including Nagarjun and Narayanhiti, that Gyanendra had inherited from his elder brother Birendra whose entire family was among 10 royals killed in a shootout on June 1, 2001.
King Gyanendra sacked Sher Bahadur Deuba on Friday as the prime minister and disbanded the cabinet.
Since then, the government stripped Gyanendra of all his powers.
Speaking at a press conference here, the minister claimed that Ambassador Sood met former King Gyanendra by breaching the tradition of informing the Foreign Minister before meeting.
Nepal has been in turmoil since Gyanendra, 55, suddenly assumed the crown in 2001 after his brother, Birendra, was gunned down in a palace massacre apparently committed by Birendra's son, the crown prince, who also died.
Since then Gyanendra has been stripped of his powers and command of the army.
A few days ago Prachanda had told journalists that during his meeting with Indian ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood, the latter had talked about his recent meeting with ex-King Gyanendra in which the former monarch had said that all his loyalists had now turned into Maoists.
Former King Gyanendra lives in a summer retreat in the outskirts of Kathmandu.
King Gyanendra dismissed Nepal's parliament and seized total power in February 2005, claiming he needed to clean up corruption in government and end a long-running insurgency.
The alliance of seven main parties has vowed it will continue to hold protest rallies until King Gyanendra steps down as absolute ruler.