Jhalanath Khanal joined politics by becoming chairman of the student wing in 2023 BS. He became General Secretary of CPN-ML at the age of 33 after taking the party's membership in 2025 BS.
He got elected standing committee member of CPN-UML in 2047 BS and become politburo and standing committee member through the fifth, sixth and seventh general conventions.
He got elected UML chairman through the eighth general convention held in Butwal in 2065-66 BS. Khanal become the Nepal Communist Party in 2075 BS and is currently a leader of CPN (Unified Socialist).
Khanal was elected lawmaker from Ilam in parliamentary elections held in 2048 BS. He became the party's parliamentary leader after being elected in the Constituent Assembly elections held in 2064 BS. He was re-elected from Ilam in the second Constituent Assembly elections held in 2070 BS and elected lawmaker from Ilam-1 in the House of Representatives elections held in 2074 BS.
He also worked as UML's parliamentary party leader in 2065 BS.
Khanal worked as Minister of Agriculture and Land Reform and Minister for Forest and Environment in an interim government formed after the people's movement in 2046. He became Minister for Information and Communications in 2053 BS and served as prime minister for six months in 2067 BS.