The first woman President of Nepal

Jul/05/2022 / by Swarnendu Biswas
Bidya Devi Bhandari
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

Bidya Devi Bhandari is serving as the present President of Nepal. The politician from Nepal is the second President of Nepal and the landlocked country’s first woman President.

Prior to being elected as the President of Nepal in 2015, she was the Vice-chairperson of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and  the Chair of the All Nepal Women’s Association.

Born to Ram Bahadur Pandey and Mithila Pandey on 19th June 1961 in the Mane Bhanjyang village of Bhojpur district of Nepal, the age of Bidya Devi Bhandari is 60 years. She is the eldest of the five siblings and had a humble upbringing.

While discussing about Bidya Devi Bhandari one can easily come to know that she was elected to the Nepal’s Parliament for the first time through a by-election in January 1994. The by-election took place because of the death of her husband, who was the sitting member from Kathmandu–1, which is one of the 10 parliamentary constituencies of the Kathmandu District in Nepal.  From the same seat she defeated Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, a former Prime Minister of Nepal, to get elected from Kathmandu –1.

In the general elections of Nepal, held in the same year, the then 33-year-old lady got elected from Kathmandu–2 by defeating Daman Nath Dhungana. In the 1999 general elections in Nepal, she was re-elected from Kathmandu–2.  

Any biography of Bidya Devi Bhandari cannot overlook the fact that during her long and distinguished political career, Bidya Devi Bhandari also served as the Minister of Defence of Nepal during 26th May 2009-6th February 2011. She served in the coveted position in the cabinet of Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is a former Prime Minister of Nepal. She also served as the Minister for Environment and Population in a coalition government led by Lokendra Bahadur Chand, who is also a former PM of Nepal.

Following the promulgation of the new Constitution of Nepal in 2015, Bidya Devi Bhandari was elected President of Nepal through an indirect election, which was held in the Nepal’s parliament on 28th October 2015. She defeated Nepali Congress’ s Presidential candidate Kul Bahadur Gurung by receiving 327 votes against Gurung’s 214. In 2018, she was re-elected as the President of Nepal for the 2nd term.

However, as Nepal’s head of the state Bidya Devi Bhandari is not without her share of controversies, one of which was her holding onto the National Assembly election ordinance and delaying the formation of the government after the 2017 legislative elections in Nepal.

One cannot arrive at certainty about the exact net worth of Bidya Devi Bhandari.


When did Bidya Devi Bhandari begin her political career?

She began her political career from a young age; from a leftist student union. She joined the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist–Leninist) in 1980, when she was only 19 years old.

What is Bidya Devi Bhandari’s educational qualification?

She completed her school level education from Bhojpur and then got admitted to Mahendra Morang Adarsh Multiple Campus, a constituent campus of Tribhuvan University in Biratnagar, Morang, in Nepal.

To whom was Bidya Devi Bhandari married to?

She was married to a prominent communist leader of Nepal named Madan Kumar Bhandari. He died in a car accident in 1993. Bidya bid adieu to politics after her marriage but after her husband’s death she returned to active politics. She has two daughters from her marriage with Madan Kumar Bhandari.

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