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Nepali Congress leader Shailaja Acharya dies at 65

June 12, 2009 17:19 IST

Nepal's first woman deputy prime minister and senior Nepali Congress leader Shailaja Acharya died today following a long battle with pneumonia and Alzheimer's.

Acharya (65), the aunt of Bollywood star Manisha Koirala, breathed her last early this morning at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Mahargunj.

Acharya, who had been ill for a couple of years, was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday for treatment. She had earlier undergone treatment in Bangkok and Kathmandu.

Acharya became the country's first woman deputy prime minister in 1997. Doctors in Bangkok, where Acharya had been hospitalised for nine months, had diagnosed her with Alzheimer's.

Acharya was jailed for showing black flag to then King Mahendra during the royal coup in 1961 when he overthrew the first elected Prime Minister B P Koirala and banned political parties. After her release, she went to India and returned to Nepal with B P Koirala in 1976 with a message of reconciliation.

Acharya was appointed the agriculture minister in the first elected government after the restoration of democracy in 1990. She resigned saying there was too much corruption in the ministry.

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