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Last Updated: May 20, 2007 - 10:48:48 AM
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Manisha Koirala's father enters the ring again
Apr 28, 2007 - 9:39:42 AM
With the deadline for registering for the polls expiring Friday, 62 parties applied before the Election Commission.

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[RxPG] Kathmandu, April 28 - Bollywood actor Manisha Koirala's father Prakah Koirala has put his hat in Nepal's political ring again, registering a new party to take part in a critical election that will decide his mentor King Gyanendra's fate.

When the controversial constituent assembly election takes place finally, in which people would be asked to choose, for the first time in Nepal's history, between the 238-year-old crown and a republic, it will be again a case of Koirala vs Koirala as Prakash Koirala battles his uncle, six-time Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's formidable Nepali Congress party.

Though Prakash Koirala is the eldest son of Bishweshwor Prasad Koirala, Nepal's first elected prime minister and one of the most charismatic leaders the country has produced, he was expelled by the Nepali Congress and stripped of his Member of Parliament status for supporting King Gyanendra.

In return for the support shown by both Prakash Koirala and Manisha, King Gyanendra, after he seized total power with the help of the army in 2005, made Prakash Koirala minister for science and technology.

Last year, the royalist Koirala father-daughter duo campaigned during the controversial municipal election held by King Gyanendra, that was actively opposed by Girija Prasad Koirala and the Nepali Congress.

The election was a fiasco and declared null and void after the king's regime fell soon afterwards. To add to Prakash Koirala's humiliation, the candidate he supported came a poor third.

Manisha's popularity too plunged in Nepal, with student organisations burning her effigy and 'banning' theatres from screening her films.

Since the fall of King Gyanendra's 15-month regime in April 2006, Prakash Koirala has been leading a low-profile life.

A fresh peril hangs over his head with a commission investigating his and other royalist ministers' roles in abetting the royal regime and recommending action against them.

However, in true Bollywood style this month, where the protagonist never says die, Prakah Koirala has sought to re-enter politics by registering his Nepali Congress - party to fight the polls.

He is supported by another royalist minister Durga Pokhrel, who was minister for women, children and social welfare in the king's cabinet.

With the deadline for registering for the polls expiring Friday, 62 parties applied before the Election Commission.

Of them, at least 27, including Prakash Koirala's party, are regarded as being loyal to King Gyanendra.

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