Nepali Congress leader Banstola no more

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Oct 14, 2018-

Nepali Congress leader and former foreign minister Chakra Prasad Banstola died at his residence in Khumaltar, Lalitpur, on Saturday evening. He was 74.

According to NC Spokesman Bishwa Prakash Sharma, Banstola took his last breath at 9:20pm.

The party, however, has yet to announce the death formally. Banstola’s two daughters, who are out of the country, are arriving on Sunday.

His body will be kept at the party headquarters in Sanepa on Sunday for final tributes, Sharma said. Also a former Nepali ambassador to India, Banstola had been in an unconscious state following a brain haemorrhage six years ago.

Earlier in the day, when rumours circulated that Banstola had died, Sharma clarified that his health was “critical and severe” and his heart continued to beat.

Banstola was rushed to Neuro Hospital, Bansbari at around 12:30pm on Saturday. Doctors there had informed family members that his vital organs had ceased to function even as the pulse was noticed.

According to Banstola’s nephew Tara Banstola, two doctors at the hospital had asked the family to take the leader home as his health condition had “complicated” due to multiple organ failure.

“At around 2.30pm, doctors told us that blood had clotted in his brain and heart while his lungs were filled with water. They said he was ‘clinically dead,’” said Tara.

“We brought him up to here after his brain haemorrhage six years ago through treatment and care,” said Kafle.

Following news of Banstola’s deteriorating condition, NC leaders President Sher Bahadur Deuba and General Secretary Shashank Koirala, among others, reached his residence in Khumaltar on Saturday.

Leaders Bimalendra Nidhi, Prakash Sharan Mahat, Ramesh Lekhak, Dilendra Prasad Badu, Nabindra Raj Joshi and Pradip Poudel also visited his residence after postponing a meeting of the party’s statute drafting committee.

Banstola’s eyes were shut and his mouth wide open. He was unresponsive while Deuba and other leaders took stock of his condition. Earlier, he would respond to such visits and inquiries with tears in his eyes.

Banstola had been unconscious since he collapsed while attending a gathering of the Banstola community at Biratchowk in Morang on December 29, 2012.

He was taken to BP Koirala Hospital in Dharan before he was referred to the Jupiter MRI and Diagnostic Centre in Siliguri, India. He was then taken to New Delhi by air ambulance on December 31, 2012 after his condition worsened further. In Delhi, he was treated at Medanta Hospital for several months.

Despite treatment at various hospitals in Nepal and India, his condition did not improve. Lately, he was receiving care at home.

The NC leader was given liquid diets through pipe since the incident in Biratnagar while he was given physiotherapeutic treatments at home.

Banstola served as a Congress central committee member, foreign minister and ambassador to India.

He had an active role in the country’s democratic struggles.

Published: 14-10-2018 07:28

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