MANIPAL, India, June 26 (UPI) -- A year ago, when the government of India invited all major political groups in Nepal to a conference in New Delhi, a sympathetic New Delhi forced through an alliance of eight parties that would take over effective power from King Gyanendra, seen widely as leaning too close to China.
By then, the king had destroyed what little support he had within India's ruling United Progressive Alliance government by sponsoring a resolution at the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation summit in Dacca calling for China's entry into SAARC as an "observer." Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka backed the move enthusiastically.
Had the previous National Democratic Alliance regime not lost power in the 2004 general elections, India at this stage would have exercised a quiet veto, thus returning the suggestion to cold storage. However, the Congress-led UPA depends for its parliamentary majority on the Communist parties and hence could not oppose a move backed by the majority of SAARC countries.
After the summit, however, steps were taken to neuter the king of Nepal's powers by installing a supposed democracy in place of the Gyanendra-led autocracy. Yet reality was that the very Nepali Parliament that had been dissolved by the king in 2002 was brought back to life, in the opinion of constitutional experts, illegally. The members of this "elected" Legislature last faced an election in 1999.