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Bidya Devi Bhandari
विद्यादेवी भण्डारी
Shinzo Abe and Bidhya Devi Bhandari at the Enthronement of Naruhito (1) (cropped).jpg
2nd President of Nepal
In office
29 October 2015 – 13 March 2023
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli
Sher Bahadur Deuba
Pushpa Kamal Dahal
Vice President Parmanand Jha
Nanda Kishor Pun
Preceded by Ram Baran Yadav
Succeeded by Ram Chandra Poudel
Minister of Defence
In office
25 May 2009 – 6 February 2011
President Ram Baran Yadav
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal
Preceded by Ram Bahadur Thapa
Succeeded by Bijay Kumar Gachhadar
Minister for Environment and Population
In office
25 March 1997 – 7 October 1997
Monarch King Birendra
Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
November 1994 – April 2008
Preceded by Daman Nath Dhungana
Succeeded by Jhakku Prasad Subedi
Constituency Kathmandu–2
In office
January 1994 – August 1994
Preceded by Madan Bhandari
Succeeded by Man Mohan Adhikari
Constituency Kathmandu–1
Member of the Constituent Assembly / Legislature Parliament
In office
28 May 2008 – 28 October 2015
Constituency Party list
Personal details
Bidya Pandey

(1961-06-19) 19 June 1961 (age 62)
Mane Bhanjyang, Bhojpur, Kingdom of Nepal
(present day Mane Bhanjyang, Ramprasadrai Rural Municipality, Bhojpur, Koshi Province, Nepal
Political party Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) (until 2015)
Madan Bhandari
(m. 1982; died 1993)
Children 2
Parents Ram Bahadur Pandey (father)
Mithila Pandey (mother)
Education Bidhdhodaya Higher Secondary School, Bhojpur
Alma mater Tribhuvan University (BA)

Bidya Devi Bhandari (Nepali: विद्यादेवी भण्डारी, pronounced [bid̚djadebi bʱʌɳɖaɾi]; born 19 June 1961) is a former Nepali politician who served as the second president of Nepal from 2015 to 2023. She formerly served as the minister of defence and minister of environment and population.

She was the first woman to hold the office in the country. She 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. Bhandari previously served as the Minister of Defence, the first woman to hold the office, from 2009 to 2011. She also served as the Minister of Environment and Population in 1997, and has been an active campaigner for environmental awareness and women's rights in Nepal. In June 2017, she visited the headquarters of the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Gland, Switzerland and met with the director general Inger Andersen to discuss enhanced collaboration on nature conservation and sustainable development. In 2016, Forbes placed her as number 52 in their list of the world's 100 most powerful women.

Early life

Bhandari was born on 19 June 1961 in Mane Bhanjyang, Bhojpur, to Ram Bahadur Pandey and Mithila Pandey. She completed her school level education in Bhojpur and pursued her higher education in Biratnagar, Morang. Her political career began from a leftist student union. She joined the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist–Leninist) in 1980.

Political career

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi along with the BIMSTEC leaders calls on the President of Nepal, Ms. Bidya Devi Bhandari, in Kathmandu, Nepal on August 30, 2018 (1)
Meeting with the BIMSTEC leaders in Kathmandu, Nepal on August 30, 2018

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 until being elected a central committee member of the CPN (UML) in 1997.

Bhandari was first elected to the parliament in a by-election in January 1994, caused by the death of her husband, the sitting member from Kathmandu–1, where she defeated former prime minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai. In the 1994 general election, she was elected from Kathmandu–2, defeating house speaker Daman Nath Dhungana. She served as the Minister for Environment and Population in a coalition government led by prime minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand in 1997. She was re-elected from Kathmandu–2 in the 1999 general election. However, she was defeated in the 2008 Constituent Assembly poll, and was later nominated under the proportional electoral system. She served as the Minister of Defence in the cabinet of prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. She was re-elected under the proportional electoral system in the 2013 elections. 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.

After the promulgation of the new constitution in 2015, Bhandari was elected president by an indirect election held in the parliament on 28 October 2015. She defeated Nepali Congress' Kul Bahadur Gurung, receiving 327 votes against Gurung's 214 votes. She thus became Nepal's second president and first female head of state. She was re-elected in 2018, defeating Congress' Kumari Laxmi Rai.

Personal life

Bidya Devi Bhandari was born on 19 June 1961 in Manebhanjyang, Nepal. Bhandari was married to Madan Bhandari, a popular Nepalese communist leader, who died in a car accident near Dasdhunga, Chitwan in 1993. The couple had two daughters, Usha Kiran Bhandari and Nisha Kusum Bhandari. She is also related to Nepali Congress leader Gyanendra Bahadur Karki.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Bidhya Devi Bhandari para niños

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