Barely hours after the economic blockade lifted in Nepal, brightening prospects for better Delhi-Kathmandu ties, former prime minister and stalwart leader of the Nepali Congress Sushil Koirala passed away, creating a void in the political life of the Himalayan state.
In September 2015, Koirala presided over the promulgation of the new constitution of Nepal, which triggered months of protests by Madhesis on account of some of its discriminatory provisions. Later, Mr Koirala, as a dialogue partner of the ruling coalition, played a constructive role by supporting Prime Minister K.P. Oli’s dialogue with Madhesi leaders to resolve the impasse.
Condoling Mr Koirala’s death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India has lost a valued friend. “Sushil Koirala ji’s simplicity holds lessons for all of us. My condolences to the Koirala family & people of Nepal in this hour of grief,” Mr Modi tweeted.
India will be sending an all-party delegation to attend the funeral, led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. “Together with Nepal, at its time of loss. EAM @SushmaSwaraj to lead all party delegation for funeral of former PM Sushil Koirala,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.
Koirala belonged to the longest-running political dynasty in Nepal, and led the Constituent Assembly (CA) in framing the new democratic constitution of Nepal, which has been criticised for being discriminatory by the Madhesi activists. Mr Oli has, however, addressed some of key demands of Madhesis, paving the way for his visit to India later this month.
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