Know your new president

Pratik Ghimire

Pratik Ghimire

Know your new president

Born to Durga Prasad and Hrishimaya Poudel on 14 Oct 1944 in Tanahun, Ram Chandra Poudel completed his schooling from Nandiratri Secondary School, Naxal, Kathmandu in 1963. He has a master’s degree in arts from Tribhuvan University. He is married to Sabita Poudel and they have four daughters and a son.

Poudel was inspired to join the democratic movement at the age of 16 after the dissolution of the  popularly elected parliament and imprisonment of leaders including then prime minister BP Koirala in Dec 1960.

He was associated with the Armed Insurrection Movement for the restoration of democracy, and initiated the students’ movement in 1962. Poudel was given a role in organizing Nepal Student Union in 1970 and got elected as a senior member of the committee of the union. His national political career began in 1977 after he was elected a member of the Nepali Congress Tanahun District Committee. Soon he rose the ranks and became the vice-president and president of the district committee. In 1983, he was made the coordinator of the Nepali Congress’s Central Publicity Committee.

Poudel went on to become a member of the Central Committee member of the party and was made the chief of its central level Publicity Bureau in 1987.

In the general election of 1991, he was elected a Member of Parliament from Tanahun-1. He served as the minister for local development and agriculture for around three years.
Poudel was reelected from Tanahun-2 In 1994. This time he was elected the speaker of the House of Representatives (lower house) and served until 1998. He also served as Minister for Home and Deputy Prime Minister from 1999 to 2002.

In 2006, after the Maoists joined peaceful politics, Poudel was appointed the coordinator of the Peace Secretariat that included representatives from top political parties. He was appointed Minister for Peace and Reconstruction in 2007. In between, he was made the General Secretary of the Nepali Congress’ Central Committee and was later promoted to Vice-president of the same committee in 2007.

In 2008, he was elected as a member of the first Constituent Assembly from Tanahun-2 and was elected as Parliamentary Party Leader of Nepali Congress. After Pushpa Kamal Dahal resigned from the post of prime minister in 2009, Poudel contested for the post of premier for 13 times, but failed to pass the threshold.

Poudel was elected the vice-president of Nepali Congress from the 12th general convention of the party. He served as the acting president of the party after the demise of then party president Sushil Koirala.

Paudel was elected as a Member of Constituent Assembly from Tanahun-2 in 2013 and Member of Parliament in 2022. He was defeated in the parliamentary election in 2017 by CPN-UML candidate Krishna Kumar Shrestha.

In his political career, Paudel was detained and jailed several times. The longest time he spent in jail was from 1971 to 1975 for being involved in various activities of the student movement, soon after the release of deposed Prime Minister BP Koirala from Sundarijal Jail. He was charged for taking part in a protest program against the Ramailo Jhoda scandal (Morang).

In this period, BP Koirala met him at Central Jail and told him not to be distracted, which inspired Paudel to lead the democratic movement, he often says. It was there that Paudel met Koirala for the first time.

He has also published a few books: ‘A Brief history of Nepali Congress’, ‘Democratic Socialism A Study’, ‘What does the Nepali Congress say?’ and ‘Agrarian Revolution and Socialism’ among others.

Within the party, Paudel is known as a coordinator and moderate leader. He also played a moderate role in the historic negotiations and consensus to bring the Maoists into mainstream politics and is also known as the drafters of the 12 points Consensus and Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

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