If NC leaders benefit from his virtues and become wiser from his mistakes and weaknesses, it will be the best homage they will be paying to their departed leader
The demise of former prime minister and Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala at 12:50 early yesterday morning marks the end of the last stalwart of Congress politics from the second generation of the Koirala family. He always worked tirelessly for the party in the shadow of the late prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala and proved to be the latter’s loyal lieutenant. G P Koirala’s death was a turning point in his career, making him an acting Congress president, and after the elections to the second Constituent Assembly, he was elected Prime Minister and headed a government, with a focus on making the constitution. He quit soon after the promulgation of the present Constitution, as promised earlier. The pledge to give the country a CA-made constitution became a reality particularly because the three big parties realized, though belatedly, that if they did not work together sincerely, it would be next to impossible to deliver the new constitution.
Koirala had been active in politics for over six decades and remained a lifelong bachelor. He was known as a leader never attracted by power or wealth and loyal to principles. Now at 78, how such a leader suddenly decided to contest for the post of Prime Minister against the gentleman’s agreement to leave the field open for the CPN-UML, still puzzles many. The circumstances under which this happened raised some uncomfortable questions about him as well as the Congress party. But his distinctive constitution-making role as well as his long struggle for the cause of multiparty politics has earned him a place in Nepali politics that will be remembered for a long time to come. Apart from spending six years in jail, he went into exile that lasted sixteen years after the multiparty system was ended in the country. He had virtually taken part in every landmark political movement or political event in which the Congress party was involved, including the referendum of 1980, the satyagraha of a few years afterward, and the pro-democracy movements of 1990 and 2006. Before being elected party president by the 12th general convention, he had held a succession of party posts — a central working committee member, general secretary, and acting president — as well as a Member of Parliament.
But his departure has come at a time when the party is holding its 13th general convention next month. Koirala himself was projected as a presidential hopeful for another term. His absence from the scene is likely to alter some political equations within the Congress. The question of who will fill the void from the Koirala camp will now be debated, so will the curiosity of whether the Koirala family’s firm hold on the party will last. But in the present political atmosphere in the country, it will not be easy to find party workers and leaders who are not tempted by money and ministerial portfolios, and who choose to live a very simple life, as Koirala has done. From his life, there is a lot that Congress workers and leaders can learn. If they can benefit from his virtues and become wiser from his mistakes and weaknesses, it will be the best homage they will be paying to their departed leader.
Well done Nima
Nima Gharti Magar, to the joy of all Nepalese sports lovers, managed to win the first gold medal for Nepal in wushu’s NanQuan event in the 12th South Asian Games held in Shillong Sunday. The 16-year-old did her country proud. If she continues to play as well as she managed to in this event she could very well win a gold medal in the coming Asian Games. Despite having little facilities for training Nima was able to win the medal due to her hard work. She had improved in her game within a short period which is a sign that she will be able to play much better, particularly if she gets the needed training, coaching and other modern facilities.
Meanwhile, the spirit of the Nepalese players have been further boosted by her sterling performance, and the Nepalese players have managed to win several silver and bronze medals as well. Nepal could have won more medals, but they missed out to do so as they were unlucky. Meanwhile, it is high time that sports was promoted in the country by, among other things, awarding the victorious players monetarily and also with various other accolades. Now we expect to see the Nepalese squad winning more medals in the games being held in India.
A version of this article appears in print on February 10, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.