Kathmandu, February 9
Nepali Congress President and former prime minister Sushil Koirala, 78, passed away at 12:50am on Tuesday and will be cremated tomorrow with state honour.
Koirala was born to Bodh Prasad and Kumidini Devi on 3 February 1938 in Biratnagar of Morang. Kumidini Devi was a sister of BP Koirala and Girija Prasad Koirala’s mother.
He later migrated to Nepalgunj of Banke, along with his parents.
He never got married and used to say he was married to democracy. He was to go to the USA to train as an actor 55 years ago,
but gave up the idea due to royal takeover by then king Mahendra overthrowing the BP Koirala-led democratic government. He spent the next 55 years serving democracy.
In fact, a few days ago he expressed a desire to contest NC presidential election in the upcoming general convention of the party.
In the last public function that he addressed 22 days ago in Bhaktapur, he said, “Friends blame me for not being able to speak clearly and characterise me as a weak and an ailing person.
However, I am fit and fine, as I have conquered cancer. I have to do more for the party and the country and I am capable of that.”
He last took part in the party’s Central Working Committee meeting on January 10. He used to meet party workers and leaders at his home before his health deteriorated three days ago, according to his family members.
Koirala was a selfless, simple man with a clean image who never accepted a ministerial or other post of benefit, although the same were offered to him several times as he was close to four-time prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who led the NC for 13 years.
He never acquired any property and sold his parental property after separating from his six brothers.
He was, however, criticised for creating coterie within the party. He was also criticised for vying for the prime minister’s post in October violating ‘a gentlemen agreement’ with major parties.
Koirala held powerful post in the NC for more than 10 years since he became acting president of the party in September 2005, He became party president in August 2010.
He became prime minister for 20 months from February 2014 to October 2015 and presided over the promulgation of the new constitution and concluded key issues of the peace process during his tenure.
Like BP Koirala and Girija Prasad Koirala, Sushil Koirala also died while he was the party president, leaving a big void in the Nepali Congress.
A version of this article appears in print on February 10, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.