KATHMANDU: Expressing grief over the death of Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala, Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today said Koirala was one of Nepal’s towering leaders and an elder statesman of South Asia.
In his condolence message to Koirala’s daughter Sujata, Singh said he was “stunned” to learn the passing away of Koirala.
Koirala was a “mass leader and a statesman. His passing away marks the end of an era in Nepalese politics. His knowledge and wisdom guided the polity of Nepal in the right direction at critical junctures in the country’s history,” Singh said in his statement.
He added that he personally had a long association with the departed leader and have “benefited immensely from his wise counsel and advice not only on issues affecting our bilateral ties but also on matters affecting South Asia as a whole.”
He had an enlightened vision of India-Nepal relations and worked sincerely to bring the people of the two countries closer together, said Singh.
Representative of the UN Secretary-General Karin Landgren, on behalf of UNMIN and the UN Country Team, also expressed deep sorrow on the death of the eminent leader.
In a press release, UNMIN said that with his passing away, Nepal has lost a towering figure in its political history.
Koirala was instrumental to the peace process in Nepal which ended 10 years of conflict. He brought his political skill and credibility to bear in persuading the parties to begin the dialogue that led to the 12-point agreement, and later to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement itself, the release said.
UNMIN further said, “The greatest tribute to GP Koirala will be to take up the spirit of his conviction, bringing fresh dedication to concluding the process of preparing a new constitution and consolidating a lasting peace in Nepal.”
Similarly, the United States of America today said that the best way to honour the late Koirala’s legacy is to accelerate the peace process and finalise the new constitution as quickly as possible.
“On behalf of the American people, we wish to express our sympathy and solidarity with the people of Nepal upon the death of Girija Prasad Koirala, the leader of the Nepali congress party and former prime minister,” the American embassy said in a statement.
It further stated, “we extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Koirala, especially his daughter, Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala.”
America also lauded Koirala’s struggle for democracy and peace. “The United States stands with Nepal as it mourns the loss of the statesman,” the release added.
In a statement, Federation of Nepali Journalists also expressed grief over the death and said Koirala had tirelessly fought in all upheavals in his span of the country’s history. It recalled that Koirala had taken a lead in bringing the Maoists, who had been waging a war for a decade, to the political mainstream.
Expressing grief over the death, Editors’ Society of Nepal noted all mediapersons in the country had been aggrieved by the news. Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC) stated Koirala’s six-decade-long fight through the Rana regime, the partyless Panchayat system and recent popular movement proved his commitment to democracy.
In a press release, National Human Rights Foundation stated the country would always acknowledge Koirala’s leadership in establishing and institutionalising democracy in the nation. It called on all the parties to develop mutual cooperation for the sake of meaningfully concluding the peace process by writing the constitution on time. Nepal Bar Association and Supreme Federation of Nepal National Transport Entrepreneurs also expressed grief over the octogenarian’s death.