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Bidhya Devi Bhandari

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Her Excellency The Right Honourable

Bidhya Devi Bhandari
विद्या देवी भण्डारी
Bidhya Devi Bhandari.jpg
2nd President of Nepal
Assumed office
29 October 2015
Prime MinisterKhadga Prasad Sharma Oli
Sher Bahadur Deuba
Pushpa Kamal Dahal
Vice PresidentNanda Kishor Pun
Preceded byRam Baran Yadav
Minister of Defence
In office
25 May 2009 – 6 February 2011
Prime MinisterMadhav Kumar Nepal
Preceded byRam Bahadur Thapa
Succeeded byBijay Kumar Gachhadar
Personal details
Bidhya Pandey

(1961-06-19) 19 June 1961 (age 59)
Mane Bhanjyang, Nepal
Political partyCommunist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) (before 2015)
Independent (2015–present)
Spouse(s)Madan Bhandari (1982–1993; his death)
RelativesGyanendra Bahadur Karki (cousin)
Alma materTribhuvan 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.[1][2] 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[3] of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist)[4] and was the chair of the All Nepal Women's Association before being elected President.[5]

In 2016, Forbes placed her on number 52 in their list of the world's 100 most powerful women.[4] She previously served as the Minister of Defence, the first woman to hold the office, in the Madhav Kumar Nepal government.[6][7][8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

Early life[edit]

Bidhya Devi Bhandari was born on 19 June 1961, in Mane Bhanjyang of Bhojpur, to Ram Bahadur Pandey and Mithila Pandey.[11] Her political career began from a leftist student union and she joined the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist–Leninist) in 1980.[12]

Political career[edit]

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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

Personal life[edit]

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.[17]

She is related to Nepali Congress leader Gyanendra Bahadur Karki.[18]



  1. "Nepal gets first woman President". The Hindu. 2015-10-28. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  2. "Bidya Devi Bhandari elected first woman President of Nepal". Kantipur News. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  3. "Who is Bidya Devi Bhandari?". Himalayan News. 2015-10-28. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "World's Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  5. "The Himalayan Times: Oli elected UML chairman mixed results in other posts – Detail News: Nepal News Portal". The Himalayan Times. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  6. "Nepali Times | The Brief » Blog Archive » Enemies within". nepalitimes.com. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  7. "Women of Nepal". wwj.org.np. Archived from the original on 20 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. "Related News | Bidya Bhandari". ekantipur.com. Archived from the original on 20 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  9. "Who is Bidya Devi Bhandari? What are the 10 things you need to know about her?".
  10. "President of Nepal visits IUCN to strengthen future collaboration". 16 June 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  11. "Nepal gets first female head of state". Setopati. Archived from the original on 30 October 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  12. "Who is Bidya Devi Bhandari? What are the 10 things you need to know about her?". Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  13. "Who is Bidya Devi Bhandari? What are the 10 things you need to know about her?". Indiatoday.in. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  14. "Bidhya Bhandari- probable first female President of Nepal". One Click Nepal. 2015-10-26. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  15. "Bidhya Devi Bhandari elected first female president". My Republica News. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2015. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  16. Rai, Om Astha. "President Bhandari again". Nepali Times. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  17. "Who is Bidya Devi Bhandari?". The Himalayan Times. 28 October 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  18. "First female president of Nepal-Biography of Bidhya Bhandari". 26 October 2015.

External links[edit]

  • Official website of the President of Nepal Script error: The function "in_lang" does not exist.
Political offices
Preceded by
Ram Baran Yadav
President of Nepal