Saved by a telephone call

Inside the Narayanhiti Palace, at the ongoing meeting of the Council of Ministers presided over by King Tribhuvan, everything was ready for PM Mohan Shumsher’s resignation – all that was left was his signature.

Just before the document was signed, King Tribhuvan excused himself citing an urgent phone call. He returned after half an hour. It was only after the king returned, the ministers were informed that the Secretary from the Indian Embassy had arrived at the palace.

“It was an insult to all of us sitting there. How could the king leave an ongoing ministerial meeting to attend to an ordinary secretary of the Indian Embassy?” Singh said to Mathbar Singh. Singh and other ministers learnt later that indeed a phone call had come – but not at the Narayanhiti Palace, but in fact at the Indian Embassy.

After the king returned, he spoke to Prime Minister Mohan Shumsher and Home Minister B P Koirala individually, and privately.

There, the King told them that the Indian Ambassador CPN Singh, who was in Allahbad at the time, had requested the king to not take any decision pertaining to the Delhi Accord until his arrival. Ambassador Singh had said he would be in Kathmandu by 4 p.m.

Mohan Shumsher, who had almost resigned from his post, was elated. He was saved by the phone call. Home Minister B P Koirala too didn’t have an option but to heed to the request.

Inside, where the ministerial meeting was being held – everyone was stunned. Moments ago, they were preparing for Mohan Shumsher’s resignation, and now, they were being asked to wait until 4 pm.

How did information about Mohan Shumsher’s resignation reach India?

Meanwhile, an angered Singh wondered how the information reached India so fast.

“By the time the meeting started, it was about 08:30 a.m. If we are to talk about the events, after B P Koirala’s address, I had spoken – and asked for PM Mohan Shumsher’s resignation. The time must have been around 09:15 a.m. Then, by the time the document was prepared, and everyone’s opinion was considered – it was around 11:00 a.m. The phone call had come around the same time”, Singh shared with Mathbar Singh.

“How could information about Mohan Shumsher’s resignation reach the Indian Embassy, New Delhi, and then to Allahbad within two hours?” Singh wondered.

“It couldn’t have been the king or the Prime Minister. They were present with us during the meeting. However, the fact that the information of the activities within the king’s palace had leaked out was concerning”, Singh adds.

Singh later explains that at the time, King Trihbuvan had a lot of trusted Indian advisors around him. One of them, Govind Narayan, who had served India since the British Rule was also based in Nepal at the time. Singh later ascertained it was him who had informed New Delhi about the impending resignation of Mohan Shumsher.

 PM Mohan Shumsher to be honourably relieved from his duties

After the meeting was postponed for 4 p.m., Mohan Shumsher left for Singha Durbar.

Singh, and other ministers of NC, raised their concerns with B P Koirala:

“What if Mohan Shumsher uses the Bijuli Garud to enact a similar act as that of Bharat Shumsher?” Singh asked Koirala, to which Koirala did not have an answer.

“What an embarrassment. We, who had won, looked like fools, and he (Mohan Shumsher), who had lost, went home a hero”, Singh told Mathbar Singh about the day’s events.

As feared, it was late by the time the Indian Ambassador arrived. The meeting had to be postponed for the next day.

The next day, after a meeting with the King, PM Mohan Shumsher, and Home Minister B P Koirala, it was decided that PM Mohan Shumsher would have to be relieved off his duties – but honourably.

He would be allowed enough time for his private residence at Laxmi Niwas to be refurnished.

It was also decided that PM Mohan Shumsher would be stripped off the protection services provided to Rana Prime Ministers by the special cantonment ‘Bijuli Garud’. The Bijuli Garud would then be moved to the Narayanhiti Durbar – a decision lawmakers would regret in ten years time when King Mahendra, with the help of the Bijuli Garud, would introduce a partyless Panchayat system in Nepal.