Ram Chandra Paudel: A politician with a legacy becomes Nepal’s head of the state

A politician whose dream of becoming Prime Minister had been shattered a dozen of times, Ram Chandra Poudel has finally reached the country's supreme position.

Dhan Bahadur Khadka

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu:  In Nepal’s political history, Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Paudel is known as a leader who was defeated 17 times as a Prime Minister candidate.

In 2010-11, a seven-month-long process continued to elect the Prime Minister as no candidate was able to muster 301 votes in the house of 601 despite 16 rounds of voting. 

Finally, in January 2011, Ram Chandra Paudel gave up his hope of becoming the Prime Minister following the official decision of Nepali Congress to formally withdraw the candidature of its parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Paudel. CPN (UML) and Maoist forces were against him during that race.  

More than a decade later, Ram Chandra Paudel became Nepal’s head of state with support from Maoist forces and other parties after tireless efforts to keep the major political forces into confidence. 

Ram Chandra Paudel had started showing his presidential ambition before the federal parliament and provincial assemblies elections that took place in November 2022. 

He looked confident that he would secure the position of the president if the Congress-Maoist Center alliance remained intact after the elections. After calculating the situation, he started taking the Maoist chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal into confidence before the election campaigns started. 

Both Dahal and Paudel kept on appreciating each other in mass gatherings and other informal meetings during the election campaigns. Paudel appreciated Dahal as a leader with high possibility of becoming the executive head while Dahal appreciated him as a leader to form the Democrat-Communist alliance. 

It was still challenging for Paudel to become the presidential candidate from his own party. Though he had developed a good rapport with his party rival and Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba since the 14th general convention of the party, it was not enough to secure his nomination as the president. 

This time, he played well in terms of managing leaders. He tried to win the confidence of Deuba. He unconditionally supported Deuba during the Nepali Congress’ parliamentary elections process. 

However, things didn’t go as expected. In December 2022, Maoist Center formally ended its alliance with Nepali Congress to form an alliance with CPN-UML. Many had predicted that his dream of becoming the President would be shattered, again. 

Paudel appeared frustrated. He, however, did not criticize the Maoist forces. He publicly commented that Nepali Congress was responsible for the end of alliance and Maoist chair Prachanda was left with no option than to form a new alliance with Maoist Center. 

In a dramatic political twist, Nepali Congress decided to support Pushpa Kamal Dahal in the parliamentary floor test. At that point, his hope of becoming the president was revived. 

Latest political developments favored him. Newly formed UML-Maoist alliance could not go well. And Nepali Congress, regardless of internal factions, strongly stood in favor of its own presidential candidate. 

Nepali politics developed a new course and Maoist Center again returned to the alliance with Nepali Congress, making his dream of becoming the president come true.

Paudel, who claims to be an ardent follower of BP Koirala’s democratic socialism, has a long history of fighting for democracy in the country.  He has promised to uphold democratic values and the constitution as the head of state.