External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is leading an all-party delegation to Nepal for the funeral of former Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, who passed away late on Monday night.
“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 Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
The delegation comprises of Congress leader Anand Sharma, JD(U) President Sharad Yadav, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
Nepal’s cabinet meeting chaired by PM KP Sharma Oli decided that Koirala’s funeral will be held with full state honours on Wednesday and the Nepalese flag will be kept half-mast at all government offices for three days.
Koirala, who was the Prime Minister of Nepal from February 11, 2014 to October 10, 2015, passed away battling pneumonia.
The 79-year-old leader had backed friendly ties with India and was instrumental in the ushering in Nepal’s new Constitution last year. After assuming office in early 2014, Koirala was tasked with formulating the long-delayed Constitution to bring stability to the nation after years of ethnic conflict and the abolition of the 239-year-old monarchy.
Koirala maintained good ties with India during his tenure but came under pressure to change his stance towards the end of his term due to the crippling blockade imposed by Madhesis, mostly of Indian-origin, to oppose the Constitution, sparking violence in the country. More than 50 people were killed in clashes between the police and the Madhesi demonstrators who alleged that the new charter politically marginalised them. The five-month-long blockade of key trading points with India was lifted by the Madhesis only yesterday.
Koirala who was also the president of the country’s biggest political party, had a balanced view about India. He was among the SAARC leaders who had attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in May 2014.
Koirala entered politics in 1954 and was in political exile in India for 16 years following the royal takeover of 1960.
(With inputs from PTI)