Former Nepal PM Sushil Koirala passes away at 78
Nepal's former Prime Minister and leader of the Nepali Congress Party, Sushil Koirala, 78, breathed his last succumbing to complications from pneumonia and respiratory failure. A champion of democracy, he led protests against Nepal's monarchy in 2006 and was instrumental in promulgating Nepal's constitution in September 2015. PM Modi expressed his sadness over Koirala's death, saying India had 'lost a valued friend'.
Sushil Kumar Koirala was a political leader from Nepal belonging to the Nepali Congress Party (NCP) who led Nepal's struggle for democracy. He served as the NCP leader and as Nepal's Prime Minister in 2014-16.
Sushil Koirala was born in 1939 in the famous Koirala clan that has produced 3 other Prime Ministers. Still in his teens, Sushil Koirala joined the Nepali Congress Party (NCP) in 1954, inspired by the party's socio-democratic ideals. He helped the country organize its first democratic elections that saw his cousin, B.P. Koirala assume the Prime Ministerial office.
After a coup by the royal family in 1960 against his cousin and the Prime Minister, B.P. Koirala, he and several other NCP members went into exile in India. He led resistance efforts against the king's government from Varanasi. In 1973, he helped mastermind the hijacking of an airplane en route from Nepal to India and consequently faced a 3-year prison term in India.
During his years of exile, Koirala served as the editor of Tarun, the NCP's mouthpiece, advocating democratic socialism. Koirala returned to Nepal in 1979 and continued the movement for democracy, that eventually resulted in the monarchy allowing legislative elections in 1991. In 2006, he orchestrated a movement that was successful in toppling the monarchy and establishing a republican government in Nepal.
Sushil Koirala became Nepal's 37th Prime Minister on 14 February 2014. As PM, he is credited for building consensus amongst various political factions in Nepal over drafting Nepal's constitution. He is also credited with successfully negotiating with the Madhesis, who had blocked border points with India to protest against the constitution. His efforts led to the promulgation of Nepal's constitution in September 2015.
Sushil Koirala suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and underwent a successful lung operation in the US in August 2015.