Gorkhatimes

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Koirala’s daughter becomes Nepal’s deputy PM

Posted by Ramesh Khati on October 13, 2009

Sujata Koirala

Kathmandu(IANS)12 Oct 2009: The political complexities in Nepal are set to take a new turn with the new government of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Monday deciding to appoint the daughter of former premier Girija Prasad Koirala as its second deputy prime minister.

Sujata Koirala, 56, who was appointed foreign minister in June despite opposition from her father’s own party members, is now the second deputy prime minister and number three in the cabinet with the senior deputy prime minister being ethnic party leader Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, who also heads the physical planning and infrastructure ministry.

Monday’s announcement comes after a cold war between the prime minister and Girija Prasad Koirala, who remains one of the most influential politicians in the country despite stepping down as premier last year.

Koirala had reportedly been pressuring Nepal to appoint his daughter the deputy prime minister in a bid to keep the Koirala grip on Nepal politics alive.

The octogenarian leader still heads the Nepali Congress, the second largest party in parliament after the Maoists, and has been resisting demands to relinquish the leadership to younger members.

Sujata Koirala lost the election last year though her father campaigned for her.

She becomes the second woman to reach the level of deputy prime minister in Nepal.

The first was Shailaja Acharya, the niece of Koirala, in 1998. Acharya died in June this year.

Sujata Koirala’s rise in Nepal’s politics has given rise to comparisons with other daughters in South Asia who headed their nations, like Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto and Sheikh Hasina.

The mother of two, however, says that her ascension is due to her own efforts and contribution.

“In fact, I was often overlooked because I was my father’s daughter,” she told. “I had to make sacrifices so that people would not think I was being unduly promoted.”

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