Manisha’s wedding to bring rivals together?

As Nepal hosts Manisha Koirala’s wedding on June 19, there’s intense speculation about whether President Ram Baran Yadav will come face to face with his enemy, Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, and the latter with his, ex-king Gyanendra.

Or will they come up with polite excuses to wriggle out of the invitation and along with it, a most embarrassing situation?

The 40-year-old actress, who is marrying Nepali businessman Samrat Dahal in a glittering three-day ceremony starting June 18, has invited former king Gyanendra as well as his arch-enemy Prachanda, the Maoist chief whose party fought a 10-year war to abolish monarchy in Nepal.

The wedding is scheduled for June 19, after an engagement ceremony on June 18. The reception is at the Soaltee Crowne Plaza Hotel on June 20.

With the former king planning to return to Kathmandu only on June 20, it is certain that he will not be present at the engagement or the wedding.

Though a morning flight will bring him back to Kathmandu on June 20 in good time to attend the reception, there’s still no certainty as the flight will depend on the weather.

As for Prachanda, his aides said it was still not confirmed if he would attend the ceremonies.

The top leaders of the Maoist party are currently locked in an intense debate over future strategy as well as leadership after failing to topple the coalition government of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal despite almost a year of protests.

If any major meetings are scheduled Sunday, Prachanda would not be able to attend Manisha’s wedding reception, his son Prakash said.

In 2006, when King Gyanendra held a controversial municipal election, Manisha had flown down from Bollywood to campaign for it. The Maoists had tried to stop the polls and in retaliation, announced a "ban" on films of Manisha, the granddaughter of the nation’s first elected prime minister Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala.

Her father Prakash Koirala consented to become a minister in the king’s cabinet, an acquiescence that caused him to be expelled from his Nepali Congress party.

Also invited to the reception is President Ram Baran Yadav.

Yadav replaced Gyanendra as the head of state. He also aroused the enmity of the Maoists by reinstating the army chief the Maoist government had sacked, an action that caused the fall of the Maoist government.

Since then, the Maoists had been boycotting all official functions attended by the president. (IANS)


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