Childhood & Early Life
Girija Prasad Koirala was born on July 4, 1924 in Saharsa in Bihar, India, which was then under the rule of the British Crown. His father was Krishna Prasad Koirala was exiled from Nepal and was living in India when Girija was born.
He had two elder three brothers Matrika Prasad and Bishweshwar Prasad.
Continue Reading Below
Girija Prasad Koirala became involved in politics when he led the workers’ strike in Biratnagar jute mill in 1947.
He founded the ‘Nepal Mazdoor Congress’ in 1948 which came to be known as the ‘Nepal Trade Union Congress-independent’ later.
In 1952 he became the president of the ‘Morang District Nepali Congress. He remained the president of this organization till he was arrested in 1960 by King Mahendra for trying to bring down the monarchy.
He was released from jail in 1967 and was exiled to India along with the other leaders and workers of his party.
He was made the General Secretary of the ‘Nepali Congress’ in 1975. He returned to Nepal in 1979.
He was involved actively in the ‘Jana Andolan’ in 1990 and led the movement which ushered in the ‘Panchayati rule’ and multiparty politics in Nepal.
He was elected to the parliament from the Sunsari-5 and Morang-1 constituencies when the first election of a multi-party political system was carried out in 1991.
He was appointed the Prime Minister of Nepal by King Birendra as the Nepali Congress was the largest party in the ‘Pratinidhi Sabha’ or the ‘House of Representatives’ after winning 110 out of the total 205 seats.
He remained the Prime Minister of Nepal till 1994 when his government was defeated by a no-confidence motion after 36 members of his party went against him. He was forced to dissolve the parliament. The ‘Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)’ came to power later.
Continue Reading Below
In 1998 the coalition government led by Suya Bahadur Thapa collapsed and he headed a minority government which till December 25, 1998. After that he headed a coalition government of three political parties including the CPN (UML) and the ‘Nepal Sadbhawana’ party till 1999 as the country’s Prime Minister for a second time.
The election in 2000 was won by Nepali Congress headed by Krishna Prasad Bhattarai who wanted to become the Prime Minister. A group of dissident ministers led by G. P. Koirala forced him to either face a no-confidence motion or resign. Bhattarai chose the latter option and Koirala became the Prime Minister of Nepal for the third time
In 2001 he had to resign from the post as a civil war between the government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) took an ugly turn. He had tried to call in the military to quell the disturbance but was opposed by King Birendra. He was replaced by Sher Bahadur Deuba as Prime Minister.
The leaders of the ‘Seven Party Alliance’ chose Koirala to head the government as the interim Prime Minister on April 24, 2006, when the ‘Pratinidhi Sabha’ was reinstated after the ‘Loktantra Andolan’.
He was again elected as Prime Minister for the fourth time on April 1, 2007. The government consisted of the Nepali Congress, the SPA and the CPN (Maoist) and Nepal was voted by the Constituent Assembly as a republic on May 28, 2008.
After Nepal became a republic, the Nepali Congress wanted him to become the first President which was opposed by the CPN (Maoist).
He resigned from the position of Prime Minister on June 26, 2008, but his resignation was not accepted as the President had not been elected by then. His resignation was accepted by Ram Baran Yadav, the first President of Nepal, on July 23, 2008. Prachanda, the chairman of the CPN (M), became the Prime Minister of Nepal.
After resigning his post he continued promoting democratic principles as long he was alive.
Personal Life & Legacy
He had married Sushma Koirala in 1952, the headmistress of a local school for women in Biratnagar.
The couple had a daughter, Sushma Koirala from the marriage.
He suffered from pulmonary diseases and asthma during his later days.
Girija Prasad Koirala died on March 20, 2010 at his daughter’s home in Kathmandu, Nepal.