INTERNATIONAL

Ram Baran Yadav is Nepal President

Offering felicitations: Maoists leader Prachanda (right) congratulates President-elect Ram Baran Yadav in Kathmandu on Monday. Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai looks on.

Offering felicitations: Maoists leader Prachanda (right) congratulates President-elect Ram Baran Yadav in Kathmandu on Monday. Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai looks on.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: AFP

Prerana Marasini

I will work towards strengthening democracy, says the President-elect

KATHMANDU: Defeating Maoist-candidate Ramraja Prasad Singh by 26 votes, Nepali Congress leader Ram Baran Yadav was on Monday elected Nepal’s first President.

“I announce Dr. Ram Baran Yadav’s win by a majority of votes,” declared Kul Bahadur Gurung, Chairman of the Constituent Assembly.

Talking to reporters briefly after this announcement, Dr. Yadav said, “It’s a victory of democracy; I will work towards strengthening it.”

The election held on Saturday failed to produce a result as none of the candidates got the required votes leading to the run off on Monday.

Mr. Singh, who was earlier expected to win, got lesser votes as Nepali Congress, CPN (UML) and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum signed an agreement to support Nepali Congress for President, Forum for Vice-President and UML for Chairman of the Constituent Assembly.

Madhesi Janadhikar Forum’s Paramananda Jha was elected Vice-President in Saturday’s election.

Farmer’s family

Born to a farmer’s family in Dhanusha district on February 4, 1948, Dr. Yadav got lucky enough to become a medical doctor. He finished his primary education from his home town and came to the capital for higher studies. He then went to Calcutta and did MBBS from the Calcutta Medical College and later did MD from the Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, in 1983.

Dr. Yadav was also involved in Democratic Association while studying in Calcutta. When he came back to Nepal, he practised medicine for four years.

He also ran a medical clinic in Janakpur for some time before being actively involved in politics. When Girija Prasad Koirala was the Prime Minister, he became Health Minister for three years — from 1991-1994. He was working as the general secretary of the NC before the presidential elections.

Talking to The Hindu, Dr. Yadav (61) said his challenge ahead was to write a timely, democratic constitution. “There are still some armed groups in the Terai region. I will work to streamline them.” Regarding the demand of a single province in the Madhes reigion, Dr. Yadav said, “It should be discussed from the Constituent Assembly,” adding, “We need to adopt a best-suiting model for Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.”

When asked about the danger of regional divide because of this demand, Dr. Yadav said, “The divide was seen because of conflict and dictatorship, but I will work for national sovereignty, unity and solidarity.

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