Nanda Bahadur Pun, former chief commander of Nepal’s People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of Maoists who fought a 10 year civil war, was on Saturday elected the country’s second vice president.
The 50-year-old who had support of the ruling coalition, which includes his party, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), defeated Nepali Congress candidate Amiya Kumar Yadav.
Pun secured support of 325 parliamentarians to beat 69-year-old Yadav, who got 212 votes, by a margin of113 votes. Lawmakers from Madhesi parties protesting against the new constitution abstained from voting.
“Since Nanda Bahadur Pun has secured majority votes, I declare him elected to the post of vice president. I congratulate him on his win and convey best wishes for his tenure,” speaker Onsari Gharti Magar announced.
The Maoist leader more popular as Comrade Pasang who hasn’t held any official post till date despite his party being in power twice in the last seven years, will replace Parmanand Jha.
Pun’s election comes three days after Nepal’s parliaments elected Bidhya Bhandari as the country’s first woman president. The elections are being held as per provisions of the new constitution adopted last month.
The fourth among seven siblings born to Ramsur Pun and his wife Mansara at Rangsi in Rolpa district---considered the cradle of Maoist revolution in Nepal----Pun joined the communist movement while still in school.
He soon joined the Communist Party of Nepal (Unity Centre) and later became the first district president of Young Communist League (YCL)—the armed youth wing of the party later transformed to Ladaku Dal.
Pun was part of the attack on a police post at Holeri in September 1996, which started the civil war. When Ladaku Dal was named PLA in 2001, he was made in charge of the first battalion.
A master strategist, Pun is responsible for planning most of the attacks the PLA undertook on police and army during the 1996-2006 civil war, which claimed over 16,000 lives.
He took part in most of the major attacks in western Nepal. Pun was named chief commander of PLA in 2008, two years after a peace deal ended the civil war and brought Maoists to the political mainstream.