New Delhi: Former
Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed Wednesday claimed he had an
opportunity to carry out "a counter-coup" against the present
dispensation under Mohamed Waheed with the help from some military
officers but rejected it due to his strong democratic roots.
Nasheed, who is also the first democratically elected president of
Maldives, also pushed for support from the Indian government and
its policy-makers for his party's call for an early presidential
polls to once again establish a popular government in Male.
He is in New Delhi on a four-day visit beginning Wednesday,
leading an eight-member delegation from his party. He is scheduled
to hold meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai during the stay.
"A few days after the coup of Feb. 7, I was approached by some
Maldivian military officials wanting to carry out a counter-coup
and install me as president again. I refused and asked them not to
waste my time," Nasheed, who is fondly called 'Anni' by his
supporters, said at an interactive session at the Observer
Research Foundation (ORF).
"Brute force is wrong, even if it is me who does it or others," he
Nasheed has always maintained that some military and police
officials had "forced" him to resign and that the events of Feb. 7
this year were the "first-ever televised coup" in his country.
Soon after he resigned, Waheed, then vice president, was installed
as the new president. But since then, Nasheed's Maldvian
Democratic Party (MDP) has been seeking an early polls to elect a
new president instead of waiting till 2013 when the next elections
Other political parties of Maldives are not in favour of an early
polls and are citing constitutional constraints of holding the
next polls only in 2013. But Nasheed has been claiming that
constitutional amendment was not required, and only a resignation
from the present president was necessary to hold the polls.
MDP supporters have been holding protest marches and
demonstrations all over Maldives demanding early elections.
"We are asking the people and the government of India to impress
upon the present dispensation to hold an early election in
Maldives," Nasheed, who is leading a delegation comprising three
of his former ministers and three members of parliament from his
The 2008 elections had brought to an end the three-decade
dictatorship of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
The MDP leader, who claims to enjoy popular support among voters,
also flagged fears of Islamic radicals taking control of his
sparsely populated archipelago nation, one of the issues that is
being view with concern by India.
"We have to have the elections soon, because in the absence of an
elected government in Maldives, the Islamic radicals are gaining
ground," he said.
"If Maldives gets into the hands of Islamic radicals, it will not
only pose a threat to Maldivians, but also to other nations of the
region and to the enormous maritime trade that passes through the
shipping lanes close to Maldives," he said.
Nasheed also said it was "shocking" to him that India rushed to
recognise Wahid's regime. "I am not the least worried about losing
presidency. But democracy is necessary for Maldives. The people
must decide who should rule the country, not the military or the
religious leaders or even Gayoom," he said.
He also alleged that Gayoom was now ruling Maldives by proxy, as
most of his "cronies" now controlled the government. Gayoom's
daughter Dhunya Maumoon is now junior foreign minister in the
The leader also reiterated his claim that he had rejected a
$1.4-billion Chinese infrastructure project in 17 islands of
Maldives, but claimed he did not believe in pitting one nation
against another as a foreign policy tool.
Asked if his decision to arrest the chief judge was wise, Nasheed
agreed though it "was not nice", he had no alternative due to
several complaints of corruption and irregularities against the