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President to preside over PM-headed panel on Gandhi 150th birth Anniversary

President Ram Nath Kovind will preside over first meeting of National Committee for Commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 2019. The committee is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has 114 members on board including Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, former Prime Ministers and Chief Justice of India, Lok Sabha Speaker, members of union cabinet, political party leaders, chief ministers, Gandhians, spiritual gurus and social workers among others.


The birth anniversary of father of the nation will be commemorated from 2nd October, 2019 to 2nd October, 2020. Many events are planned to organised at both national and international level to propagate message of Mahatma Gandhi. In 2018-19 budget proposals, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earmarked Rs. 150 crore for the celebrations.

Key Facts

The 114-member committee will discuss policies, plans and preparatory activities for commemoration of birth anniversary. Its recommendations will be considered for implementation by government. The Ministry of Culture will be nodal ministry for celebrations. Chief Ministers of different states, leaders of various political parties, Gandhians, spiritual leaders and social workers are expected to attend the meeting.


Bidya Devi Bhandari: Nepal’s 1st woman President re-elected for 2nd term

Nepal’s first woman President Bidya Devi Bhandari (56) was relected for second term in office. In the presidential election, she defeated Nepali Congress (NC) leader Kumari Laxmi Rai with overwhelming majority.  Ms. Bhandari was elected with more than a two-thirds majority after she secured 39,275 votes while the Nepali Congress’s Ms. Rai garnered 11,730 votes.


President of Nepal is ceremonial head of state, under the new Republican Federal Constitution of Nepal. The electoral college for presidential election comprised of members of Parliament and Provincial Assemblies. Ms. Bhandari’s nomination for re-election was backed by ruling Left alliance of CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre), Sanghiya Samajbai Forum-Nepal and other fringe parties. ith 148 lawmakers in Federal Parliament and 243 in Provincial Assemblies, the CPN-UML commanded total vote of 23,356. Opposition NC having 76 seats in parliament and 113 in provincial assemblies, had total votes of 11,428.

Bidya Devi Bhandari

She was born on June 1961 in Bhojpur, Nepal. She became Nepal’s first woman President in 2015. Prior to getting elected, she was deputy leader of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist)-CPN-UML party led by incumbent Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli. She was elected twice in parliamentary elections in 1994 and 1999. Earlier she had served as Defence Minister of the country and has been an active campaigner for women’s rights.