UML fields Bhandari for prez; UCPN-M presents Pun for Veep; NC undecided

Kathmandu, October 26

The ruling CPN-UML today decided to field its Vice-chair Bidhya Bhandari for the post of president. It requested all the parties in Parliament to support her.

With this decision, the possibility of fielding a consensus candidate for president and vice-president from the major parties has all but ended.

Unified CPN-Maoist also decided to field its former commander Nanda Kishor Pun to contest the post of vice-president.

On the other hand, the main opposition party Nepali Congress is preparing to field its own candidates for both president and vice-president, but has failed to pick candidates yet.

According to NC leaders NC President Sushil Koirala has deputed senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba and Vice-president Ramchandra Paudel to pick the candidates for both the posts.

NC Leaders claimed that the two leaders would pick the candidates after holding discussions with other parties tomorrow.

NC sources claimed that the party is likely to field Kul Bahadur Gurung for the post of president.

CPN-UML secretary Pradip Gyawali claimed that the search for a consensus candidate for president and vice-president was almost over with the UML’s unanimous decision to field Bhandari for the post of president.

Prime Minister and UML Chair K P Sharma Oli’s proposal to field Bhandari was supported by two senior leaders of the party Jhalanath Khanal and Madhav Kumar Nepal.

During the NC’s tea reception today, PM Oli said UML has supported NC’s candidates many times and it’s now time for NC to support UML’s candidates.

UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s personal secretary Chudamani Khadka said today’s standing committee meeting decided to field the party’s standing committee member and former PLA commander Nanda Kishor Pun for the post of vice-president.

The party’s treasurer and Minister for Agriculture Development Haribol Gajurel, however, said the party would try to seek a consensus candidate for both president and vice-president till the last minute.

Gajurel said there are several leaders in the party who want to contest the post of vice-president, including Urmila Aryal, Sashi Shrestha, and Gopal Kiranti, besides Nanda Kishor Pun.

As per the election schedule the parties must file nominations for both the posts from 10:00am to 1:00pm tomorrow and the final list of candidates will be published by 3:00pm the same day and the election will begin from 11:00am till 2:00pm on Wednesday.

However, United Democratic Madhesi Front leaders have clearly stated that they will not take part in the elections.

The ruling party’s candidate

  • Born in Guranse of Bhojpur district on 19 June 1961 to a Pande family
  • Bhandari joined communist movement while a student.
  • She later joined the then CPN-ML
  • Married to then CPN-UML general secretary Madan Bhandari, whose agenda of multi-party people’s democracy led the party to a new height.
  • After Madan Bhandari’s death in a road accident, she won the by-election from Kathmandu

    Constituency 1 defeating then NC President Krishna Prasad Bhattarai.

  • She defeated then speaker Daman Nath Dhungana from Kathmandu-2 during the mid-term election of 1994.
  • She has led the party’s All Nepal Women’s Association since 1997.
  • She was elected the party’s vice-chairperson from both the eighth and ninth genera l conventions.
  • If elected Bhandari will become the first woman president and second president of the Federal Democratic Republic Nepal.