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Girija Prasad Koirala

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Girija Prasad Koirala
गिरिजाप्रसाद कोइराला
Koirala in 2007
Acting Head of State of Nepal
In office
15 January 2007 – 23 July 2008
Preceded byGyanendra (as King)
Succeeded byRam Baran Yadav
30th Prime Minister of Nepal
In office
25 April 2006 – 18 August 2008
DeputyKP Sharma Oli
Amik Sherchan
Preceded bySher Bahadur Deuba
Succeeded byPushpa Kamal Dahal
In office
22 March 2000 – 26 July 2001
DeputyRam Chandra Poudel
Preceded byKrishna Prasad Bhattarai
Succeeded bySher Bahadur Deuba
In office
15 April 1998 – 31 May 1999
DeputySailaja Acharya
Preceded bySurya Bahadur Thapa
Succeeded byKrishna Prasad Bhattarai
In office
26 May 1991 – 30 November 1994
Preceded byKrishna Prasad Bhattarai
Succeeded byMan Mohan Adhikari
5th President of Nepali Congress
In office
11 January 1992 – 20 March 2010
Preceded byKrishna Prasad Bhattarai
Succeeded bySushil Koirala
Personal details
Born(1924-07-04)4 July 1924
Saharsa, Bihar and Orissa Province, British India (present-day Bihar, India)
Died20 March 2010(2010-03-20) (aged 85)
Kathmandu, Nepal
Political partyNepali Congress
Sushma Koirala
(m. 1952; died 1967)
ChildrenSujata Koirala
ParentKrishna Prasad Koirala (father)
RelativesSee Koirala family
Alma materKirori Mal College (University of Delhi)

Nepal Ratna Girija Prasad Koirala (Nepali: गिरिजाप्रसाद कोइराला Listen; 4 July 1924 – 20 March 2010),[1][2] affectionately known as Girija Babu,[3] was a Nepalese politician. He headed the Nepali Congress and served as the Prime Minister of Nepal on four occasions, including from 1991 to 1994, 1998 to 1999, 2000 to 2001, and 2006 to 2008. He was the Acting Head of State of Nepal between January 2007 and July 2008 as the country transitioned from a monarchy to a republic.

Koirala, who was active in politics for over sixty years, was a pioneer of the Nepalese labour movement, having started the first political workers' movement on Nepalese soil, known as the Biratnagar jute mill strike in his hometown, Biratnagar. In 1991 he became the first democratically elected Prime Minister since 1959, when his brother B.P. Koirala and the Nepali Congress party were swept into power in the country's first democratic election. He was the most prominent and consequential political leader from 2001 to 2008 in Nepal.

Personal life[edit]

Girija Prasad Koirala in his youth

Koirala was born in Saharsa, Bihar, British India, in 1924 into a Hill Brahmin family.[4] His father, Krishna Prasad Koirala, was a Nepali living in exile.[5] In 1952 Koirala married Sushma Koirala, headmistress at the local school for women in Biratnagar.[6] Their daughter Sujata Koirala was born in 1953. Sushma died in a kerosene stove explosion in 1967.[7] He along with his daughter Sujata were followers of the Indian spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba.[8]

Koirala belonged to one of Nepal's most prominent political families. Two of his brothers were prime ministers: Matrika Prasad Koirala from 1951 to 1952 and 1953 to 1955, and Bisheshwar Prasad Koirala from 1959 until King Mahendra took over the government in December 1960. Bisheshwar Prasad and Girija Prasad were arrested and later sent to prison. With other leaders of the Nepali Congress Party (NCP), Girija Prasad went into exile after his release in 1967 and didn't return to Nepal until 1979.[9]

Political career[edit]

Koirala became involved in politics in 1947, leading the Biratnagar jute mill strike[5] In 1948 Koirala founded the Nepal Mazdoor Congress, later known as the Nepal Trade Union Congress-Independent. Later, in 1952, he became the President of the Morang District Nepali Congress and held that office until he was arrested and imprisoned by King Mahendra following the 1960 royal coup.[5][10] Upon his release in 1967, Koirala, along with other leaders and workers of the party, was exiled to India[5] until his return to Nepal in 1979. Koirala was General Secretary of the Nepali Congress Party from 1975 to 1991.[11] Koirala was actively involved in the 1990 Jana Andolan which led to the abrogation of Panchayat rule and the introduction of multiparty politics into the country. He had signed many treaties that were against nation. [citation needed] [fact or opinion?]

First term[edit]

In Nepal's first multiparty democratic election in 1991, Koirala was elected as a member of parliament from the Morang-1 and Sunsari-5 constituencies. The Nepali Congress won 110 of the 205 seats in the Pratinidhi Sabha (House of Representatives), the lower house of parliament. He was subsequently elected as the leader of the Nepali Congress parliamentary party and was appointed as Prime Minister by King Birendra.[10]

During his first term, the House of Representatives enacted legislation to liberalize education, media and health sectors in the country. The government also founded the Purbanchal University and the B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences(BPKIHS) in the Eastern Development Region and granted licenses to the private sector to run medical and engineering colleges in various parts of the country. The government also undertook the construction of the B.P. Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital in Bharatpur, Nepal with assistance from the government of China.

In November 1994, he called for a dissolution of parliament and general elections after a procedural defeat on the floor of the House when 36 members of parliament (MPs) of his party went against a government-sponsored vote of confidence. This led to the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist)-led coalition coming to power in the elections that followed.[10]

Second term[edit]

Koirala took over as Prime Minister from Surya Bahadur Thapa following the collapse of the coalition government led by Thapa. Koirala first headed a Nepali Congress minority government until 25 December 1998, after which he headed a three-party coalition government with the Communist Party of Nepal (UML) and the Nepal Sadbhawana Party. [citation needed]

Third term[edit]

Koirala calls on the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on 29 June 2004

Koirala became Prime Minister in 2000 for his third term following the resignation of Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, under whose leadership the Nepali Congress Party had won the parliamentary election. The party had won claiming that Krishna Prasad Bhattarai would be the Prime Minister, but Koirala led a group of dissident MPs and forced Bhattarai to resign or face a no-confidence motion. At that time Nepal was fighting a civil war against the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Koirala resigned in July 2001[10] after which the military was mobilized in the civil war for the first time, something Koirala had unsuccessfully attempted to do while in office. He was replaced by former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was elected by a majority of members of the Nepal

Fourth term[edit]

After the Loktantra Andolan and the reinstatement of the Nepal House of Representatives, Pratinidhi Sabha, on 24 April 2006, Koirala was selected to become Prime Minister by the leaders of the Seven Party Alliance. The reinstated House of Representatives passed laws to strip the King of his powers and bring the Army under civilian control. Following the promulgation of the interim constitution, Koirala, as the Prime Minister, became the interim head of state of Nepal.

On 1 April 2007, Koirala was re-elected as Prime Minister to head a new government composed of the SPA and the CPN (Maoist). Following the April 2008 Constituent Assembly election, the Constituent Assembly voted to declare Nepal a republic on 28 May 2008. Koirala, speaking to the Constituent Assembly shortly before the vote, said that "we have a big responsibility now"; he said that Nepal was entering a "new era" and that "the nation's dream has come true".[12]

Fifth term[edit]

Girija Prasad Koirala continued again as the prime minister of Nepal for a fifth term. In the discussions on power-sharing that followed the declaration of a republic, the Nepali Congress proposed that Koirala become the first President of Nepal; however, the CPN (Maoist), which had emerged as the strongest party in the Constituent Assembly election, opposed this.[13]

At a meeting of the Constituent Assembly on 26 June 2008, Koirala announced his resignation, although it would not be finalized until after the election of a President, to whom the resignation had to be submitted.[14]

Koirala was present for the swearing in of Ram Baran Yadav, the first President of Nepal, on 23 July 2008.[15] He submitted his resignation to Yadav later on the same day.[16] CPN (M) Chairman Prachanda was elected by the Constituent Assembly to succeed Koirala on 15 August 2008; Koirala congratulated Prachanda on this occasion.[17]

Later activity[edit]

Towards the end of his life, Koirala was leading a democratic front composed of parties that supported and promoted liberal democratic principles and aspired to establishment of a long-term democratic form of governance in Nepal.

Koirala wrote Simple Convictions: My Struggle for Peace and Democracy[18]


Sujata Koirala at funeral of Girija Prasad Koirala.

Koirala died at his daughter's home on 20 March 2010 at the age of 85, having suffered from asthma and pulmonary disease.[5] His funeral was held at Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu on 21 March.[10] Upon receiving news of his death, numerous politicians released statements of condolence. The Hindu described him as a "national guardian".[5] Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh released a statement expressing his condolences, saying "Koirala was a mass leader and a statesman, whose knowledge and wisdom guided the polity of Nepal in the right direction at critical junctures in the country's history,"[10] while Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations said "Koirala fought fearlessly and at considerable personal sacrifice for justice and democratic rights in his country"[19] and senior Maoist politician Baburam Bhattarai said "Koirala will be very much missed, especially now that the country is nearing the end of the peace process that he facilitated".[19]


In 2015, he was posthumously awarded with Nepal Ratna Man Padavi, the highest honour to a Nepali citizen by the Government of Nepal.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Girija Prasad Koirala passes away at 86; last rites on Sunday". Ekantipur. Kathmandu, Nepal. 20 March 2010. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  2. ^ Kiran Chapagain and Jim Yardley (22 March 2010). "Girija Prasad Koirala, Former Nepal Premier, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Kathmandu, Nepal. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Why Sushil Koirala leaves a contested legacy in Nepal". 9 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Girija Prasad Koirala: The architect of democracy in Nepal". Dawn. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Marasini, Prerana (20 March 2010). "G.P. Koirala passes away". The Hindu. The Hindu Group. Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  6. ^ "The private life of GPK". The Kathmandu Post. 26 March 2010. Archived from the original on 12 April 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  7. ^ "GP Koirala". NNDB.com. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Nepal devotees await Sathya Sai Baba's reincarnation". Hindustan Times. 25 April 2011.
  9. ^ "Girija Prasad Koirala". Britannica. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Nepalese ex-leader Girija Prasad Koirala dies". BBC News. 20 March 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  11. ^ Opmcm
  12. ^ "Nepal abolishes monarchy", Al Jazeera, 29 May 2008.
  13. ^ "I won't plead before anyone for presidency, says PM"[permanent dead link], Nepalnews, 15 June 2008.
  14. ^ "Prime Minister announces his resignation"[permanent dead link], Nepal News, 26 June 2008.
  15. ^ "President Yadav, VP Jha sworn in", Nepalnews.com, 23 July 2008.
  16. ^ "PM Koirala tenders his resignation to President", Nepal News, 23 July 2008.
  17. ^ "Ex-rebels' chief chosen as Nepal's new PM", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 15 August 2008.
  18. ^ Monitor, Nepal (13 July 2007). "Book Review: Girija Prasad Koirala's 'Corleone diplomacy'". Nepal Monitor. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  19. ^ a b "Nepal's former leader Koirala dies". ABC News. 21 March 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  20. ^ "Late GP Koirala given highest national honour". The Kathmandu Post. Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2014.

External links[edit]

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