Onsari first woman Speaker in Nepal’s history

Kathmandu, October 16

Unified CPN-Maoist leader and former deputy speaker Onsari Gharti Magar was unanimously elected the Speaker of the Legislature-Parliament today, becoming the first woman Speaker in the parliamentary history of Nepal.

Gharti had resigned from her post of Deputy Speaker on Wednesday, along with Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang.

Following the withdrawal of candidacy of Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party lawmaker Anuradha Thapa Magar by her proposer Prem Suwal, acting speaker Laxman Rajbanshi declared Gharti Magar elected as the Speaker of the Legislature Parliament unanimously.

CPN-UML Vice-chair Bidhya Devi Bhandari had proposed Onsari Gharti Magar’s name for the post of Speaker, while RPP-N lawmaker Kunti Kumari Shahi had seconded Bhandari’s proposal.

Nepali Congress Vice-president Ramchandra Paudel said NC backed Gharti Magar for the Speaker’s post.

He claimed that NC’s support for Onsari would result in increased cooperation among the major parties. Sources claimed that NC backed Onsari for the post of Speaker expecting support from the ruling coalition in the election of President and Vice-President.

Not only did NC support Onsari’s candidacy, Paudel requested NWPP to withdraw from the race.

Earlier the parliamentary party meeting of NC had issued a whip to all its lawmakers to vote for Gharti Magar.

Biswendra Paswan of Bahujan Shakti Party, independent lawmakers Attahar Kamal Musalman, Yashoda Kumari Lama, Mithila Chaudhari, Seema Kumari BK, Milan Kumari Rajbanshi and Rajya Laxmi Shrestha addressed the Parliament in support of Gharti Magar.

Meanwhile, Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal lawmaker Ganga Prasad Yadav was elected Deputy Speaker. CPN-UML lawmaker Shatrughan Mahato proposed Ganga Prasad Yadav’s name for Deputy Speaker, seconded by UCPN-M whip Rekha Sharma.

NWPP lawmaker Dilli Prasad Kafle had also filed his candidacy for Deputy Speaker but his candidacy was later withdrawn by his proposer Anuradha Thapa Magar.

The next meeting of the Parliament has been scheduled for October 24.

Gharti Magar said her victory helped the parties show a united face and thanked the lawmakers who helped her get elected unanimously.

Yadav, an indigenous and a Madhesi leader, said his election was an example of inclusion.

Former Maoist commander soldiers on

KATHMANDU: Onsari Gharti Magar was one of the fighters who were involved in the first attack against the state during the Holeri incident when the then CPN-Maoist introduced armed conflict in the country. Born on November 14, 1977, at Jankot VDC of Rolpa, Gharti had begun her political journey from the student wing of the CPN (Unity Centre).

In 1995, Onsari married her neighbour and CPN-Maoist leader Barshaman Pun, who helped her take big strides in her political career. The year she got married, she was involved in the attack by her party on a police post at Holeri. She went underground after the attack.

She led the party-led fronts at different places, became the party’s central committee member in 2003 and a politburo member of Unified CPN-Maoist a decade later.

Gharti became Constituent Assembly member through the Proportional Representation system during the first CA and was directly elected from Rolpa Constituency No 2 in the second CA before being elected Deputy Speaker. — HNS