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Former Nepal PM Bhattarai dies

Nepal's former Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, who led a popular movement to restore multiparty democracy in 1990, has died at age 87.

world Updated: Mar 06, 2011 01:24 IST
Utpal Parashar

Former Nepal prime minister and one of the founder members of Nepali Congress Krishna Prasad Bhattarai died here late on Friday. He was 87.

Popular among his followers as Kishunji, the late leader succumbed to multiple organ failure at Norvic International Hospital, a specialized private hospital at 11:26pm.

As soon as news of the death spread, hundreds of residents reached the hospital to pay last respects to Bhattarai. His body was later taken to his ‘ashram’ at Lalitpur on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

The Jhalanath Khanal government declared a public holiday on Sunday in Bhattarai’s honour. The national flag will be flown at half mast for three days to mourn the death.

Born in Varanasi in 1924, Bhattarai had taken part in the Quit India movement before getting involved in the movement to remove the hereditary Rana prime ministers in Nepal.

He became the Speaker of parliament after the first parliamentary election in 1959 at the age of 36. He became the president of Nepali Congress in 1976, a post he held for nearly two decades.

Bhattarai was elected Prime Minister of the interim government after the Peoples Movement of 1990 that helped restore multi-party democracy and remove the 30-year-old ‘panchayat’ system of government.

A staunch believer in constitutional monarchy, he became PM for the second time in May 1999.