Hometown: Mane Bhanjyang, Bhojpur, Nepal
Age: 61 Years
|Birth name||Bidya Pandey|
|Real name/Full name||Bidya Devi Bhandari|
|Famous for||Being the first female candidate to become the second President of Nepal|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters– 163 cm
in meters– 1.63 m
in feet & inches– 5’ 4”
|Political Journey||• 28 May 2008 – 28 October 2015: Member of the Constituent Assembly / Legislature Parliament
• November 1994 – April 2008: Member of the House of Representatives from Kathmandu–1 constituency
• 25 March 1997 – 7 October 1997: Minister for Environment and Population
• 25 May 2009 – 6 February 2011: Minister of Defence
• 28 October 2015: 2nd President of Nepal
|Date of Birth||19 June 1961 (Tuesday)|
|Age (as of 2022)||61 Years|
|Birthplace||Mane Bhanjyang, Bhojpur, Kingdom of Nepal (present day Mane Bhanjyang, Ramprasadrai R.M., Bhojpur, Province No. 1, Republic of Nepal)|
|Caste||Brahmin Web Archive|
|Hometown||Mane Bhanjyang, Bhojpur, Kingdom of Nepal (present day Mane Bhanjyang, Ramprasadrai R.M., Bhojpur, Province No. 1, Republic of Nepal)|
|School||• Primary education at Behereshwar Primary School, Nepal
• 1979: SLC (School Leaving Certificate) at Bidhyodaya Vocational High School, Nepal
|College/University||Tribhuvan University, Nepal|
|Educational Qualification||1980: Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) at Tribhuvan University, Nepal|
|Controversies||• She has been accused of taking a partisan stance since she was appointed as the second president of Nepal Nepal Times
• In 2006, Bhandari submitted a controversial ‘property bill’ in Nepal Parliament. She was supported by many women MPs. In this bill, she urged the rights of the girls on the property of their parents. In the bill, she stated,
Through this bill, women for the first time in the Nepali history got a right to succeed their parental property and a right to issue a child’s citizenship with the name of a mother.”
|Relationships & More|
|Marriage Date||Year, 1982|
|Husband/Spouse||Madan Bhandari (died – 1993) (politician)|
• Usha Kiran Bhandari
• Nisha Kusum Bhandari
Father– Ram Bahadur Pandey (headmaster at a local high school)
Mother– Mithila Pandey
Cousin– Gyanendra Bahadur Karki
Some Lesser Known Facts About Bidya Devi Bhandari
- Bidya Devi Bhandari is a Nepali politician who is known for being the second president of Nepal. In 2015, she became the first woman to hold the president’s office in Nepal. Earlier, she served as the minister of defence and minister of environment and population, the vice-chairperson of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist), and the chairman of the All Nepal Women’s Association. From 2009 to 2011, Bidya Bhandari served as the Minister of Defence. In 1997, she served as the Minister of Environment and Population.
- Bidya Devi’s grandfather’s name is Tilak Bahadur Pandey, and he was a social worker as well as a Pradhan Pancha of his village. Once, in a media interview, Bidya Bhandari stated that she was the first person in her family to complete matriculation. Her grandfather persuaded her other family members to educate her. She said,
I happened to be a role model for the women in my village and it prompted other parents to send their daughters to school.”
- When she was seven years old, she started learning the skills of politics from her grandfather and uncles who once worked as members and activists in the Nepal Student’s Union and the ANNFSU. Once, in a media interview, she disclosed that in her childhood, whenever she used to see any beggar or poor person, she felt very bad for them. She said,
I felt very bad when I saw some people begging for money, medicine or some old dresses to wear. I wondered why they were so poor and what was the cause of this inequality.”
- When she was in eighth grade, she learnt about the Coordination Committee, which was founded in 1975. She joined this committee and began distributing its pamphlets in villages to warn the local landlords.
- In 1978, Bidya Devi Bhandari ventured into politics and joined the Youth League of CPN (ML) as an activist from Bhojpur. In 1979, she was appointed as in charge of the Eastern Zone Committee of ANNFSU, and she served in the position till 1987.
Bidya Devi Bhandari while being appointed to a ministerial post in Nepal
- In 1980, Bidya Devi received a party membership from the CPN (ML). During her college days at Mahendra Morang Adarsha Multiple Campus, she was chosen as the student union leader. In 1993, Bidya Bhandari was appointed as the chairperson of the women’s wing of GEFONT. In 1997, she was then elected as a central committee member of the CPN (UML).
- In January 1994, Bidya Bhandari was elected to the parliament as a sitting member from the Kathmandu–1 constituency in a by-election after the death of her husband. In these elections, she defeated her opponent and former Prime Minister of Nepal Krishna Prasad Bhattarai. During the general elections of 1994, Bidya Bhandari defeated the house speaker Daman Nath Dhungana and was elected from the Kathmandu–2 constituency. Soon after winning the elections, she was appointed as the Minister for Environment and Population.
Bidya Devi Bhandari during a political rally
- In 1999, Bidya Bhandari re-contested the elections from the Kathmandu–2 constituency and won. In 2008, during the Constituent Assembly elections, she lost; however, later, she was nominated by following a proportional electoral system. She was appointed as the Minister of Defence in the cabinet ministry of Nepali Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. In the 2013 elections, Bidya Bhandari was re-elected by following a proportional electoral system.
- Reportedly, Bidya Bhandari played a dominant role in the party. In the eighth general convention of the party organised in Butwal, she was then re-elected as vice-chairperson of the CPN (UML). During this time, she was considered a close confidante of the party chairman and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
Bidya Devi Bhandari at her office
- On 28 October 2015, Bidya Bhandari was elected as the president of Nepal by an indirect election organised in the parliament of Nepal. During these elections, she defeated her opponent and Nepali Congress leader Kul Bahadur Gurung. She received 327 votes against Gurung’s 214 votes. Upon winning these elections, Bidya Bhandari became the first female head of the state and the second president of Nepal. In 2018, she was re-elected to the same position, and in these elections, she defeated her opponent and Congress leader Kumari Laxmi Rai.
The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi along with the BIMSTEC leaders calls on the President of Nepal, Ms Bidya Devi Bhandari, in Kathmandu, Nepal on 30 August 2018
- Bidya Bhandari was ranked number 52 in Forbes’ list of the world’s 100 most powerful women in 2016.
- In June 2017, Bidya Bhandari was invited to the headquarters of the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Gland, Switzerland where she attended a meeting with the director general Inger Andersen and discussed the issues related to nature conservation and sustainable development and had collaborations on it.
Bidya Devi with director general Inger Andersen
- Apart from being a politician, Bidya Bhandari actively advocates for environmental awareness and women’s rights issues in Nepal.
- One of her daughters is a medical practitioner and another works as a party worker for the Nepal political party CPN (UML).
President Bidya Devi Bhandari talks to her daughters as she returns from a temple in Kathmandu Valley, on the day of Maha Ashtami in 2016
- Bidya Devi and her husband had met twice before marrying each other in 1982. Once, in 1979 and again in 1980 in Bhojpur, during party meetings. On 16 May 1993, Bidya Bhandari’s husband, Madan Bhandari, died in a car accident. He was travelling from Pokhran to Chitwan along with his three companions to attend a party meeting. However, their car plunged into the Trishuli river mysteriously. All of the passengers died in the accident, except the driver (Amar Lama) who was murdered after ten years of the accident, which mushroomed conspiracy theories in Nepal. Madan Bhandari’s body was found on the bank of the Narayani river three days after the accident.
A statute of Madan Bhandari in Nepal
- According to Bidya Devi, she was impressed by Madan’s personality, political ideologies, and leadership qualities. In a media interview, she recalled that their marriage was not a love-at-first-sight kind of marriage. She said,
It was not a love-at-first-sight kind of thing. I was nervous to be in front of him. His sharpness and his ability to present various issues with depth touched me. I was sure that he was a man with a difference but I did not know that he would one day acquire the position of general secretary of the CPN (UML).”
- Reportedly, Bidya Devi Bhandari has been blamed by the opposition party members of Nepal for taking a partisan stance since she was appointed as the president of Nepal. In 2017, she was held responsible for delaying the formation of the government after the 2017 legislative elections by holding onto the National Assembly election ordinance.
- According to some media sources, Bidya Devi learnt political skills from UML leader KP Oli, who emerged as the strongest Prime Minister of Nepal since 1990. It was KP Oli who always stood by her side and made her the Defence Minister of Nepal in the Madhav Nepal government in 2009, and President in 2015.
Bidya Devi Bhandari with KP Oli during a cabinet meeting
- In 2021, an ordinance for citizenship was rejected by the Supreme Court and was brought upon by the KP Sharma Oli government; however, this ordinance was passed by Bidya Devi Bhandari. Later, when the majority and Deuba cabinet approved the ordinance in the parliament, it was denied by her. Kathmandu Post
- In the same year, Bidya Bhandari was blamed for misusing her position when she approved both the decisions of the cabinet to dissolve the House of Representatives against the Constitution of Nepal. The majority of member parliaments signed collectively to appoint Sher Bahadur Deuba as Prime Minister of Nepal, however, Bidya Bhandari did not appoint him to the same position. Adversely, she supported KP Sharma Oli-led government and dissolved the parliament. The Supreme Court of Nepal challenged her decision along with a majority of 146 member Parliaments. Hindustan Times
President Bidya Bhandari talking to the media in 2018 after registering her candidacy for a second term
- On 12 July 2021, the Supreme court of Nepal made a verdict in which it stated that the decision made by Bidya Devi Bhandari to dissolve the parliament was unlawful. Ratopati Supreme Court in its order stated to appoint Deuba as the next Prime Minister of Nepal under article 76(5) of the Constitution of Nepal, and also mentioned that Bhandari took steps against the rules of the constitution. On 13 July 2021, Deuba was appointed as the Prime Minister of Nepal by Bidya Devi Bhandari. Upon this appointment, she did not include any article or order of the Court. All these incidents created a cold dispute, she was blamed for forgetting her limits. Hindustan Times Deuba then took oath as the Prime Minister of Nepal after a few delays.
Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba in 2021
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