SUNSARI: Bansi Mehata of Dewangunj, Sunsari, is 100. And today, he wished he had died earlier.
"Girijababu has said many times that he started his political career form my house," Bansi said, overwhelmed. "Oh, whom will I call Girijababu now?"
Girija Prasad Koirala first met Bansi in 1950 when his elder brother, BP Koirala, took him to Dewangunj. Although Girija Prasad Koirala would not drink milk from Bansi's house -- BP later punished him for that -- the farmer became famous for being an inspiration to the Koirala brothers.
During his early political career, Koirala used to frequently ride a bicycle to Mehata's house, which is one-and-a-half-hours away from Biratnagar.
It was Girijababu who, in 1951, became a guardian and admitted Bansi's eldest son, Balkrishna, in Biratnagar's Adarsha High School. "Girijababu used to say that we will form the government one day, and so we should educate our children."
Tears flowed from his eyes when he recalled Koirala embracing him after being released from jail in 1969. The two were together in India during exile.
"Girija Prasad Koirala was a confident and courageous leader and the void created by his death cannot be filled," he said.
Even at 100, Bansi renews his party membership every year, but now he is worried how the Congress party will remain united. "A courageous, confident and friendly leader like Girija is rarely born," he said. Bansi last met Koirala two years ago in Biratnagar, after his sons insisted. Girija Prasad Koirala, who was instructing government officials, rose up and escorted Bansi inside his home.
"I hope a peaceful Nepal is established," Bansi said. "It was Girijababu's wish. Only then can his soul can rest in peace."