Bidhya Devi Bhandari
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Her Excellency The Right Honourable
Bidhya Devi Bhandari
विद्या देवी भण्डारी
|2nd President of Nepal|
|Assumed office |
29 October 2015
|Prime Minister||Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli|
Sher Bahadur Deuba
Pushpa Kamal Dahal
|Vice President||Nanda Kishor Pun|
|Preceded by||Ram Baran Yadav|
|Minister of Defence|
25 May 2009 – 6 February 2011
|Prime Minister||Madhav Kumar Nepal|
|Preceded by||Ram Bahadur Thapa|
|Succeeded by||Bijay Kumar Gachhadar|
19 June 1961
Mane Bhanjyang, Nepal
|Political party||Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) (before 2015)|
|Spouse(s)||Madan Bhandari (1982–1993; his death)|
|Relatives||Gyanendra Bahadur Karki (cousin)|
|Alma mater||Tribhuvan University|
Bidhya Devi Bhandari (Nepali: विद्या देवी भण्डारी, pronounced [bidʱja debiː bʱʌnˈdaːri]; born 19 June 1961) is a Nepalese politician, serving as the 2nd President of Nepal, in office since 28 October 2015. She is the first woman to hold the office in the country. She was elected in a parliamentary vote, receiving 327 votes out of 549 against Kul Bahadur Gurung, the presidential candidate of the Nepali Congress. She previously served as the vice-chairperson of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and was the chair of the All Nepal Women's Association before being elected President.
In 2016, Forbes placed her on number 52 in their list of the world's 100 most powerful women. She previously served as the Minister of Defence, the first woman to hold the office, in the Madhav Kumar Nepal government. She also served as the Minister of Environment and Population in 1997, and has been an active campaigner for environmental awareness and women rights concerns in Nepal. In June 2017, she visited the headquarters of the IUCN in Gland, Switzerland and met with the director general Inger Andersen to discuss opportunities for enhanced collaboration on nature conservation and sustainable development.
Bidhya Devi Bhandari was born on 19 June 1961, in Mane Bhanjyang of Bhojpur, to Ram Bahadur Pandey and Mithila Pandey. Her political career began from a leftist student union and she joined the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist–Leninist) in 1980.
Bhandari was active in politics from an early age. According to the details provided by the CPN-UML, Bhandari joined politics as an activist of the Youth League of CPN(ML) in 1978, from Bhojpur. She played a role as an in-charge for Eastern Zone Committee of ANNFSU from 1979 to 1987. Her active political journey, however, started when she received party membership from the CPN (ML) in 1980. After completing her school level study, Bhandari was enrolled in Mahendra Morang Adarsha Multiple Campus where she was elected treasurer of the students' union. Also, she played a pivotal role as a chairperson of the women's wing of GEFONT from 1993 before being elected a central committee member of the CPN–UML in 1997.
Bhandari was elected twice in parliamentary elections in 1994 and 1999, defeating former Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and Damanath Dhungana, respectively. However, she lost in the 2008 Constituent Assembly poll, and was then nominated under the proportional electoral system. She served as the Minister of Defense in the cabinet of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. She was re-elected under the proportional electoral system in the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013. Her influence in the party remained dominant when she was elected as vice-chairperson of the CPN–UML in its eighth general convention held in Butwal. Bhandari, who was re-elected vice-chairperson in the party's next general convention, is considered a close confidante to party chairman and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
Bhandari has been accused of taking a partisan stance since being elected President. She held onto the National Assembly election ordinance delaying the formation of the government after the 2017 legislative elections. She also held the nomination of three members to National Assembly sent by the outgoing Deuba government but immediately approved the nominations sent in by the incoming Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
Bhandari was married to Madan Bhandari, a popular Nepalese communist leader, who died in a car accident near Dasdhunga in Nepal's Chitwan District in 1993. The couple have two daughters, Usha Kiran Bhandari and Nisha Kusum Bhandari. The accident is alleged to have been a murder, but currently remains unsolved.
She is related to Nepali Congress leader Gyanendra Bahadur Karki.
Meeting with the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind in Tokyo, Japan on October 22, 2019.
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Ram Baran Yadav
| President of Nepal