CPN-UML Vice-president Ashta Lakshmi Shakya has become the first woman Chief Minister (CM) of Nepal.
She was appointed as the Chief Minister of Bagmati on Wednesday after outgoing CM Dormani Poudel resigned from the post of UML parliamentary party leader and chief minister.
Poudel had agreed to make Shakya the chief minister and leader of the parliamentary party after receiving instructions from party president KP Sharma Oli. On Poudel’s proposal, Shakya was unanimously elected leader of the parliamentary party.
At present, CPN-UML has a single majority in Bagmati province. Before the party’s split, Oli’s faction had 34 MPs and the Madhav Kumar Nepal faction had 22 MPs.
Earlier, the Pushpa Kamal Dahal- Madhav Kumar Nepal faction within the erstwhile Nepal Communist Party had filed a no-confidence motion against Poudel and proposed Shakya as the Chief Minister.
“I have taken over the post of chief minister to convey the message that there should be no split in the party and the UML is united,” said Shakya.
Shakya was born in 2010 BS in Jhonche, Kathmandu. Her interest in politics peaked when she used to visit the Chinese library to study in her spare time after her SLC. She became active in politics in 2026 BS. She says she was attracted to politics after she read about the Chinese revolution and communist ideology.
Shakya says she was impressed by the communist ideology that treats everyone equally, a thing she learned while studying Chinese literature.
While in college, Shakya joined UML in 2036 BS as an underground cadre. She was banned from leaving her house for being active in politics. She fled home after being forced to get married.
Shakya, who was also the president of All Nepal Women’s Association, is an active woman leader in her party. She was elected from Kathmandu Constituency No. 8 ‘A’ in the 2074 BS state assembly election.
Although she was likely to become the chief minister after the first election under the new constitution, she was deprived of that opportunity due to factional struggle within UML. Many had speculated that Shakya, who is also in-charge of Bagmati province, would become the chief minister after winning the parliamentary election of UML, which has a majority in Bagmati. However, she lost to former mayor of Hetauda Municipality Dormani Poudel, who was not even a party central member.
Shakya, who won the UML vice-chairmanship from the Madhav Kumar Nepal faction in the party’s ninth general convention, got the opportunity to become CM after leaving the Nepal faction.
On Wednesday night, she took the oath of office and secrecy at the state headquarters in Hetauda. On the very day, she expanded a two-member cabinet.
Krishna Khanal has been appointed as the Minister of Social Development and Keshav Raj Pandey as the Minister of Internal Affairs and Law. Pandey has also been given the responsibility of Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Development.