Ram Chandra Poudel is a Nepali politician and the third President of Nepal. He has been elected six times to the Parliament and served as Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal, President of the Nepali Congress, and speaker of the lower house (Pratinidhi Sabha) of the Nepal Parliament. He has spent more than 15 years in detention for his taking part in different movements in Nepali politics.
Ram Chandra Poudel was born on Saturday, 14 October 1944 (age 78 years; as of 2022) in Satiswara village in Bahunpokhari, Tanahun district of Nepal. His zodiac sign is Libra. He entered into politics at the age of sixteen to protest against the dissolution of parliament and the dismissal of late B. P. Koirala’s government. In 1967, he completed Sastri (Bachelor’s degree) in Sanskrit Literature from Tribhuvan University. In 1970, he completed a master’s degree in arts in Nepali literature from Tribhuvan University and gave the exams while being jailed for protests against the Panchayat system.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Weight (approx.): 65 kg
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Eye Colour: Black
He was born into a middle-class family.
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name was Durga Prasad Poudel, and his mother’s name was Rishi Maya Poudel. His father was a farmer and a supporter of the Nepali Congress. He has four younger sisters.
Wife & Children
His wife’s name is Savita Poudel. They have four daughters named Sharmila, Sangya, Anugya, and Awagya, and a son named Chintan.
After entering into politics at the age of sixteen after Nepali King Mahendra jailed the late Congress leader and Nepali Prime Minister B. P. Koirala in 1960. He actively participated in the Armed Insurrection Movement in 1961 for the reclamation of Bharatpur and Chitwan and the restoration of democracy. In 1962, he started Free Student Movement, and in 1966, he was elected as the President of the Saraswati College Student Union. The same year, he founded the Gandaki Student committee and was elected as its President. In 1967, he was elected as the General Secretary of the Democratic Socialist Youth League (DSYL). He played an instrumental role in establishing Nepal Student Union in 1970, and he was selected as a senior member of the Union’s committee.
In 1977, he was elected as a member of the Nepali Congress Tanahun District Committee and became its vice president in 1979. In 1980, he was elected as the president of the Tanahun District Multy Party Campaigning committee. In 1983, he became the coordinator of the Nepali Congress’s Central Publicity Committee. He became a member of the Central Committee of the Nepali Congress later, and in 1987, he became the head of its central-level Publicity Bureau.
In the 1991 general elections, he contested elections from Tanahun Constituency No. 1 and became the Member of Parliament after defeating the candidate of the Nepal Communist Party (United People’s Front) by a huge margin. On May 29, 1991, he was appointed as the Minister for Local Development and Agriculture and served as the minister till 1994. In the 1994 general elections, he contested elections from Tanahun Constituency No. 2 and became the Member of Parliament after defeating the candidate of the Nepal Communist Party (United People’s Front). On 18 December 1994, he was appointed as the speaker of the lower house of the House of Representatives (Pratinidhi Sabha) and served till 23 March 1999. In the 1999 general elections, he was reelected from Tanahun Constituency No. 2 and was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister from 1999 to 2002 and also held the portfolio of Home and Communications. In 2006, he was elected as the general secretary of the Nepali Congress’s Central Committee and became its vice president in 2008. In 2006, he became the coordinator of the Peace Secretariat and played a key role in streamlining the peace process and served till 2007. In 2007, he was appointed as the Minister for Peace and Reconstruction and served till 2008. In the 2009 Constituent Assembly elections, he was elected from Tanahun Constituency No. 2 and was selected as the Congress parliamentary party leader on 20 June 2009 after defeating the former PM of Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba. In 2009, he became the vice president of the Nepali Congress and also served as the party’s president after Sushil Koirala’s death. In 2010, he contested the parliamentary elections for the post of Prime Minister from the Nepali Congress along with Pushpa Kamal Dahal from the UCPN-Maoist and Jhala Nath Khanal from the UML; however, he could not secure the win and lost to Jhala Nath Khanal in the 17th round of voting. In the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections, he was reelected from Tanahun Constituency No. 2. In the 2017 parliamentary elections, he contested from Tanahun Constituency No. 1 and lost to Krishna Kumar Shrestha of the communist alliance. In November 2022, he was elected as a member of the parliament of the lower house from Tanahun Constituency No. 1.
President of Nepal
On 9 March 2023, he became the third President of Nepal at the age of 78 after defeating Subash Chandra Nembang. He secured 214 votes out of 332 Parliamentary votes and 352 votes out of 550 provincial votes from seven provinces. He was preceded by Bidya Devi Bhandari.
Ram Chandra Poudel has written many articles and books about political and social issues. His articles have been published in many leading newspapers. A few of his books are What Nepali Congress Says in 1976, Democratic Socialism – A study in 1990, Abhisapta Etihas in 2004, and Agricultural Revolution and Socialism in 2013. He has won many awards for his literary works.
He has estimated spent more than 15 years in jail for protesting against the King’s imposed political system and Panchayat system. In 1962, he was jailed for 10 months for the Bharatpur seize by Nepali Congress. In 1964, he was jailed for 12 months for Kathmandu’s student movement. In 1966, he was jailed for 6 months for taking part in the movement to remove the then Deputy Inspector General of Police. In 1967, he was jailed for 14 months for organising Democratic Socialist Youth League’s (DSYL) activities in Pokhara and was again jailed in Kathmandu in 1969 for 12 months for organising DSYL’s activities in Western Nepal. In 1970, he was jailed for 3 months for establishing the Nepal Student Union in Kathmandu. In 1971, he was jailed for 4 years for actively doing political activities after the release of late B. P. Koirala. In 1977, he was jailed for 10 months for taking part in the Patan Conference of the Nepali Congress, where the decision of launching the Satyagraha movement for the release of the late B. P. Koirala and for the restoration of democracy was taken. In 1979, he was jailed for 6 months for heading the referendum movement to choose between multi-party democracy or a party-less Panchayat system. In 1981, he was jailed for 6 months for boycotting the Panchayat system elections. In 1985, he was jailed for 9 months for his participation in the Satyagraha movement. In 1988, he was jailed for violating Publication Act as per the Panchayat constitution and writing about Nepali Congress. In 1989, he was jailed for 5 months for organising and instigating people to participate in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy. In 2003, he was jailed for one and a half years when former King Gyanendra Bikram Shah imposed King’s rule after Royal Palace Massacre in 2001.
Organising UML split in 1998
Ram Chandra Podel was accused of causing a split in the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) (CPN – UML) in 1998 by the former PM of Nepal and CPN-UML’s President KP Sharma Oli. In early 1998, RK Mainali, CP Mainali, and Bam Dev Gautam formed a new party along with many leaders of CPN-UML and named it the Communist Party of Nepal–Marxist Leninist (CPN-ML).
Supporting Sher Bahadur Deuba in the 2021 Congress convention
He was accused of supporting Sher Bahadur Deuba for the post of party president after finding out that he could no longer become the president and withdrew his support from a rebel candidate. It was alleged that he struck a deal with Deuba for quid pro quo support in Poudel’s Nepal Presidential aspirations.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Mahendra Bikram Shah Prize in 1987 for an article titled Human Rights Condition in Nepal
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun award from Japan in 2020 for his contributions to enhancing Nepal-Japan ties
- He is fondly called Ram Chandra Dai by fellow Congress workers.
- He has participated in every movement in Nepal since 1960.
- He has extensively worked with the former Nepali PM Girija Prasad Koirala after he came back to Nepal from India.