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Nationalist, honest leader Bista passes away

By Our Reporter

kirtiFormer prime minister Kirti Nidhi Bista passed away on Saturday at the age of 90.

Bista, who was popular among the Nepali people as the honest and truly nationalist politician of Nepal, was suffering from cancer for a long time.

Bista, known for his simplicity, integrity and commitments on state sovereignty, had served as prime minister for three times during the direct rule of the monarchy.

He served as the prime minister thrice with two generations of kings—twice with Mahendra and once with Birendra.

He also served as one of the two vice chairmen of the Council of Minister formed under former king Gyanendra in 2005.

A staunch royalist, Bista was a man of conviction and he never compromised with the strong position on sovereignty. He was a nationalist not only in words but also in actions. It was Bista who dared to remove the Indian checkposts from border of Nepal  in 1970. He was the first Nepali politician to call the 1950 Nepal-India Treaty of Peace and Friendship as irrelevant. He demanded the controversial treaty be reviewed decades before the so-called nationalist leaders made the treaty an issue to increase their votes during elections.

Bista joined politics as foreign minister in 1965. Later, he head the government in 1969. During his first stint as the prime minister, Bista played an instrumental role, almost single-handedly, in sending Indian troops back from the army check posts that were set up along the Nepal border.

Many writers and those who knew him personally took Bista as an exceptionally honest and diligent prime minister of Nepal. Stronger were his acts in maintaining and safeguarding Nepal’s sovereignty.

Following strong reservations from New Delhi about Bista’s initiatives to send Indian troops back from Nepal, King Mahendra sacked him on April 13, 1970.

But a year later, Mahendra again entrusted him with heading the government in April 1971.

On July 9, 1973, a massive fire destroyed a large section of Singha Durbar and a week later, Bista on July 16, 1973 resigned on moral grounds.

No PM of Nepal had resigned on moral grounds.

Bista remained close to the Nepali monarchs almost throughout his active life.

King Birendra in 1977 had asked him to head the government which prepared the blueprint of the referendum when people were asked to choose between party-less Panchayati system or multi-party democracy. Bista, however, was not at the helm when it was held in 1980.

Despite serving as the country’s prime minister three times, Bista always stayed away from state facilities and never sought privileges.

Bista’s final rites were performed at Pashupati Aryaghat on Saturday but there was no state funeral for Bista as per his wish. Also, the government was also reluctant in providing state funeral for former prime minister Bista.

Bista is survived by a son and three daughters.

Demise of Bista is a great loss to the nation. People’s Review weekly family prays to the Almighty for eternal peace of the departed soul and heartfelt condolences to the bereved members of the Bista family.

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