Bidhya Devi Bhandari

Bidhya Devi Bhandari (Nepali: विद्या देवी भण्डारी; born 19 June 1961) is a Nepalese politician who is the current President of Nepal.

Bidhya Devi Bhandari
विद्या देवी भण्डारी
3rd President of Nepal
Assumed office
29 October 2015
Prime MinisterKhadga Prasad Oli
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
Born (1961-06-19) 19 June 1961
Mane Bhanjyang, Bhojpur, Nepal
Political partyCommunist Party-Unified Marxist/Leninist (before 2015)
Independent (2015–present)
Spouse(s)Madan Bhandari (1982–1993; his death)
RelativesGyanendra Bahadur Karki (brother)
Alma materMahendra Morang Campus

She is the first woman to hold the office.[1][2] She was the vice-chairperson[3] of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist)[4] and chair of the All Nepal Women Association before winning the presidential election on 28 October 2015.[5] She was elected as President in a parliamentary vote, receiving 327 votes out of 549 and defeating Kul Bahadur Gurung.

In 2016, Forbes placed her 52 in their list of the world's 100 most powerful women.[4] She previously served as the Minister of Defence of the government of Nepal and was the first woman in Nepal to hold that post.[6][7][8] She was also the minister for Environment and population in 1990s, and has been presenting many environmental awareness campaign and women rights concern till dated.[9] In June 2017, she visited IUCN headquarters and Director General Inger Andersen in Gland, Switzerland to discuss opportunities for enhanced collaboration on nature conservation and sustainable development.[10]

Early life

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 got the membership of them Communist Party of Nepal - Marxist–Leninist in 1980.[12]

Bhandari was elected twice in parliamentary elections in 1994 and 1999, defeating Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and Damanath Dhungana, respectively.[13] However, she lost during the 2008 Constituent Assembly poll. She held the post of Minister of Defense in the cabinet of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. The party elected her under the proportional electoral system in the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013.

Political career

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.[14] 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 as a Treasurer for Federation of Students' Union (FSU). Also, she played a pivotal role as a chairperson of the women's wing of GEFONT from 1993 before being elected as UML central committee member in 1997. Her influence in the party remained dominant when she was elected as vice-chairperson of the party in its eighth general convention held in Butwal.[15] Bhandari, who retained her vice-chairperson position in the party's general convention, was considered as one of the confident leaders of party chairman and Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli.


Bhandari has been accused of taking a partisan stance as 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 3 members to National Assembly sent by the Deuba government but immediately approved the nominations sent by Khadga Prasad Oli.[16]

Personal life

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 had two daughters, Usha Kiran Bhandari and Nisha Kusum Bhandari. The accident is alleged to have been a murder, but currently remains unsolved.[17]

Her daughter Nisha Kusum Bhandari was married to Avishek Yadav (son of Er. Munilal Yadav and Nepali Congress lawmaker Kiran Yadav) on Jan 16, 2017.

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


  1. "Nepal gets first woman President". The Hindu. 28 October 2015. 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. 28 October 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  4. "World's Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  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". Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  7. "Women of Nepal". Archived from the original on 20 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  8. "Related News | Bidya Bhandari". Archived from the original on 20 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  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.
  12. "Who is Bidya Devi Bhandari? What are the 10 things you need to know about her?". Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  13. "Bidhya Bhandari- probable first female President of Nepal". One Click Nepal. 26 October 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  14. "Who is Bidya Devi Bhandari? What are the 10 things you need to know about her?". Retrieved 28 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.
  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.
Political offices
Preceded by
Ram Baran Yadav
President of Nepal
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