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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2835

Nepal's first woman deputy Prime Minister Acharya passes away

Kosh Raj Koirala – Asian Tribune Correspondent in Nepal

[caption id="attachment_93" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Shailaja Acharya"]Shailaja Acharya[/caption]

Kathmandu, 13 June, ( Senior Nepali Congress leader and the country’s first deputy woman Prime Minister Shailaja Acharya died on Friday at the age of 65.

Acharya died at 4:25 am while undergoing treatment at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu. She had been suffering from pneumonia and Alzheimer's.

Acharya had been ill since past two years and hospitalized since the past year. She had undergone treatment in Bangkok and Kathmandu and Delhi.

Doctors in Bangkok, where Acharya underwent treatment for nine months, had diagnosed her with Alzheimer's disease.

Late Acharya, who remained unmarried whole life, is among a few women leaders who made a remarkable contribution to restore democracy in the country in 1990.

She was jailed for showing black flag to the then King Mahendra in 1961 after the monarch dismissed elected government and started an autocratic system called Panchayat.

She went into self-exile in India when she was released from jail after three years. She came back to Nepal with her political mentor and then Nepali Congress President B.P Koirala in 1976 with a message of national reconciliation.

Acharya was appointed agriculture minister in the first elected government following the restoration of democracy in 1990. However, she resigned from the post, complaining of widespread corruption in the ministry. Acharya was the deputy prime minister with water resources portfolio in the coalition government in 1997.

Her dead body was cremated amidst a special function Friday afternoon. Senior leaders of all political parties had reached to the Aryaghat, the cremation site, to pay her last tribute. An army contingent had offered her last tribute.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has expressed his condolences over the death of Nepali Congress (NC) leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Shailaja Acharya.

The prime minister said that the country lost not only a woman leader, but also an icon of democratic values and principles in her death.

"She was a politician who succeeded in establishing her unique and original identity in Nepali politics," Prime Minister Nepal said in a statement issued Friday afternoon.

Acharya´s capacity for not compromising on moral values even in difficult circumstances is exemplary for all, he said.

"History will never forget the contributions of Acharya who always stood firm in her principles and values and fought with determination against corruption, irregularities and wrongful attitudes even when she was in power," the prime minister said.

Meanwhile, the House also passed a condolence resolution over her demise on Friday.

- Asian Tribune -

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