KATHMANDU, Sept 12: First pro-republican leader Ram Raja Prasad Singh passed away Wednesday morning in the capital. He was 77.
Singh, who was suffering from kidney, bone and neuro-related problems, breathed his last while under going treatment at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH).
Singh was admitted to TUTH on September 2 following multiple complaints including difficulty in moving his legs, backbone pain, high blood pressure and kidney problems. He was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and put on a ventilator Tuesday evening after his condition deteriorated.
The cabinet meeting on Monday decided to bear all the expenses incurred in his treatment.
Singh´s final rites were performed with state honors at Pashupati Aryaghat amidst the presence of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and senior leaders of various political parties, among others. Vice President Parmanand Jha and Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala paid final homage to Singh at Aryaghat.
Singh´s son Manoj Singh lit the funeral pyre. Earlier, his body was placed at Khulamanch for people to pay their last respects. The Nepal Army fired a 13-gun salute.
UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister Bhattarai, NC Vice-president Ramchandra Poudel, CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya, Senior NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar and CPN-UML General Secretary Ishwor Pokhrel, among others, paid homage to Singh at Khulamanch.
An emergency meeting of the cabinet Wednesday morning decided to accord Singh state honors. According to Information and Communication Minister Rajkishor Yadav, who is also the government´s spokesperson, the government has recognized the veteran leader´s ´outstanding´ role in the country´s republican movement.
The cabinet also extended condolences to the bereaved family and decided to fly the national flag at half mast at government offices and missions abroad.
Talking to media persons at Khulamanch, PM Bhattarai said that the demise of Singh was an irreparable loss to Nepal´s republican movement. "Personally, he was a source of inspiration for my political life," Bhattarai added.
Dahal said that Singh´s dream of institutionalizing federalism and promulgating a new constitution is yet to materialize. "Our party remembered him when he was alive and will remember him after his death," Dahal maintained.
Baidya stated that he recalls Singh as a republican leader and senior leftist intellectual. "As the republican movement is yet to be concluded, we all and the next generation will remember him," he added.
Singh´s son Manoj said his father was very nationalist. "He had dreamt about promulgation of a new constitution that guarantees a republica," Manoj said.
Singh was born in 1934 in a wealthy landlord family of Saptari district. He is survived by two sons.