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GP Koirala's daughter takes oath as an MP

Sujata Koirala, daughter of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, took oath as a new MP in the interim parliament.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2007 14:15 IST

The trend of daughters donning the mantle of their illustrious fathers has finally caught on in male-dominated Nepal with Sujata Koirala, daughter of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, taking oath as a new MP in the interim parliament that convenes on Monday.

Sujata Koirala, the daughter of the country's most prominent political family who enters the changed house along with Maoist rebels, becomes the fifth daughter in South Asia to be following in her father's illustrious footsteps -- after Indira Gandhi in India, Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, Chandrika Kumaratunga in Sri Lanka and Sheikh Hasina in Bangladesh.

Sujata, a prominent member of the youth wing of her father's Nepali Congress party, makes her way to the House of Representatives after the party nominated her along with nine others.

It will be a triumphant entry for the mother of two who says that being the premier's daughter for her meant restricting her own ambitions and activities so no one could cast a slur on her father.

With her nomination, the petite Koirala, who did her higher education at the Vishva Bharati University founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Santiniketan in West Bengal, outpaces cousin Shailaja Acharya in the political race.

Acharya, daughter of Girija Prasad Koirala's sister, is the only woman in Nepal to have been made deputy prime minister, the highest executive position achieved by women.

Though she was nominated to be Nepal's new ambassador to India, the appointment was frozen after the Maoists objected to the unilateral nominations.

The third woman from the Koirala clan to have made headlines from the current generation is Koirala's grandniece Manisha Koirala, who left politics to her elders to carve out a career in Bollywood.

However, during King Gyanendra's power grab through a bloodless coup two years ago, Manisha tried to drum up public support for the king but failed. Her brief foray in Nepal's politics made her unpopular with anti-king student unions, which burnt her posters and "banned" her films.

As Sujata Koirala enters the new parliament, ironically, it is exit for her cousin, Manisha's father and former minister Prakash Koirala.

Prakash Koirala, son of Bishweshwor Prasad Koirala, Nepal's first elected prime minister, was expelled by the Nepali Congress after he, too, supported King Gyanendra and accepted a berth in the royal cabinet.

Though two more members of the Koirala clan are active members of the party, none will go to parliament, at least for now.

Both are Koirala's nephews and both gave up flourishing careers as doctors to join politics.

Dr Shashank Koirala is the younger brother of Prakash Koirala but unlike his brother supported the anti-king movement.

Dr Shekhar Koirala, their cousin, was expected to be nominated as an MP, considering his meteoric rise in the party but for now remains where he is, a member of the central committee.

First Published: Jan 15, 2007 14:15 IST