Nepal announces three-day state mourning for Koirala

Last Updated: Saturday, March 20, 2010 - 18:25

Kathmandu: Nepal on Saturday announced a
three-day mourning starting from Sunday for Girija Prasad
Koirala, the country`s five-time Prime Minister who passed
away here today of multiple organ failure at the age of 85.

During the mourning, all flags will fly at half-mast,
the cabinet announced today after passing a condolence for the
departed leader.

Nepalese leaders across the political spectrum
expressed condolence on the death of the veteran Nepali
Congress president.
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal went to the
residence of Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala, to express
condolence on the death of the veteran leader. Sujata, also
the country`s deputy prime minister, is Koirala`s only

Former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, senior
leaders of various political parties visited his daughter`s
residence to express condolence as thousands of people
gathered outside after hearing the news of the death of the
Nepali Congress supremo.

Baburam Bhattarai, CPN-Maoist vice chairman, said
Koirala`s demise was a great loss to the country.

"No single leader can compensate for the loss caused
by the death of Koirala," he said, adding "we all should work
together to compensate the loss".

Bhattarai recalled that Koirala had asked the Maoists
to fulfil "the big responsibility entrusted upon them" when he
had visited Gangalal Heart Centre few days back along with
Maoists chief Prachanda to wish him speedy recovery.

Former Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav, the chief of
the Madhesi People`s Rights Forum, described Koirala as a
"great democratic leader" who fought for the cause of
"In his demise the country has lost a great leader,"
Yadav said.

"To pay true homage to Koirala we have to fulfil the
tasks of drafting the constitution, completing the peace
process and restructuring the state mechanism," he underlined.

Foreign government`s also expressed sympathy and
solidarity with the Nepalese people at this crucial juncture.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the
death of Koirala and said the late leader had an enlightened
vision of India-Nepal relations.

Describing Koirala as one of Nepal`s "tallest leaders
and an elder statesman of South Asia", Singh said in a
condolence message that Koirala worked sincerely to bring the
people of the two countries closer.

Singh said the passing away of Koirala marks the end
of an era in Nepalese politics.

Describing him as "statesman", the US expressed
sympathy and solidarity of the American people with the people
of Nepal upon the death of Koirala.

"Throughout his long political career, GP Koirala
struggled for democracy and peace in Nepal," it said.

"Koirala led the 2006 peace negotiations that ended
Nepal`s decade long conflict and laid the foundation for
lasting peace," the US Embassy said.

It said the best way to honour Koirala`s legacy is to
accelerate the peace process and finalise the new
Koirala died at 12.10 pm local time at his daughter
residence on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

The veteran leader, who was the President of Nepali
Congress which is a key constituent of the ruling CPN-UML-led
coalition, was considered close to the Indian leadership
across the political spectrum.

Koirala`s body will be put at Dasharath Stadium
tomorrow morning for people to pay their homage and his last
rites will be performed later in the afternoon.

The former Premier had played a pivotal role in the
peace process, Nepal`s transition to democracy and bringing
Maoists to the mainstream politics three years ago.

Born in 1925 in Bihar, Koirala became Prime Minister
for the first time in 1991 after his Nepali Congress party
secured majority in the 205-member House of Representatives.


First Published: Saturday, March 20, 2010 - 18:25

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