By Anil Giri, Kathmandu, July 23 IANS | 3 months ago

Nepal Prime Minister Sushila Koirala has returned home after undergoing treatment for first stage lung cancer in the US.


Upon his return Tuesday night, Koirala assured his countrymen that he would spare no effort to deliver a new constitution by Jan 22 next year, a deadline set by Nepal's parties after the election of the second Constituent Assembly in November last year.

Having recovered from the cancer of tongue some eight years back, Koirala, who was a chain smoker during his youth and chewed gutkha and zarda tobacco products, lately developed lung cancer.

"I am never frightened of death and I never hide my disease," Koirala, 74, who is still single, said, adding that he has always been fighting with death, be it for health reasons or politics for which he was in exile for 17 years in India and elsewhere.

In his absence for almost one month, several important decisions have been pending, including gathering national consensus on a proposed visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal, which is expected to be a big diplomatic event of the Koirala government.

After receiving five sessions of radiotherapy in New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a lesion at his upper right lung has shrunk by 80 percent, said his personal physician Karbir Nath Yogi.

According to Yogi, the radiation therapy for squamous cell carcinoma of lung yielded excellent clinical as well as radiological results, which in turn enabled Koirala to return home following the short recovery time from the treatment.

The primary task of the Koirala-led government is to deliver a new constitution at a time when the Himalayan nation has been running on an ad hoc basis or interim constitution since 2007.

The first attempt between 2008 to 2012 to produce a constitution based on consensus failed, resulting in massive pressure on Koirala to deliver a new constitution.

Though some tangible progress has been made on the constitution drafting front, some opposition raised by Maoists could derail the process.

"Now I am back and I fully assure you there will be a new constitution within the stipulated time that will completely transform the country within eight to 10 years," a confident but fatigued Koirala told the media upon his arrival here.

(Anil Giri can be contacted at girianil@gmail.com)

(Posted on 23-07-2014)

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