New Delhi, March 20 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has condoled the passing away of former Nepal Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who died today at his daughter Sujata Koirala's residence in Mandikatar.
In a condolence message, Dr. Singh described Koirala as one of Nepal's tallest leaders and an elder statesman of South Asia.
"I have personally had a long association with Koirala and have benefitted immensely from his wise counsel and advice not only on issues affecting our bilateral ties but also on matters affecting South Asia as a whole," he said.
"Beginning with his days in the trade union movement, Koirala spent his entire political life championing the cause of the people. He was first and foremost a democrat and his long struggle to usher in democracy in Nepal reached a successful conclusion when he became the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Nepal in 1991," he added.r. Singh further said Koirala subsequently guided the destiny of the people of Nepal for a further three terms as Prime Minister.
"He 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," he added.
The passing away of Koirala marks the end of an era in Nepalese politics, he said.
"I convey my deepest sympathies and condolences to his family, friends and followers," Dr. Singh added.
Koirala staked his political career on making peace with the Maoist rebels who waged a decade-long insurgency against the state.
He also played a crucial role in turning Nepal into a Republic through abolition of 240-year-old monarchy two years ago.
The body of the veteran leader will be kept at Dasrath Rangshala Stadium tomorrow from 8 a.m. to enable people to pay their last respects. (ANI)