Droupadi Murmu,
former Governor of Jharkhand, has been declared India’s 15th President, stealing a march over rival candidate Yashwant Sinha. After three rounds of counting, The 64-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party nominee crossed the halfway mark- with 2161 votes of the value of 5,77,777- becoming the first tribal president on the nation. Born in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district in
1958, Murmu served as the Governor of Jharkhand from 2015 to 2021. She was the
first governor to complete a full five-year term since Jharkhand was formed in 2000.

Also Read | Watch: Mayurbhanj celebrates as Draupadi Murmu on course to become President

The BJP was
reportedly considering two candidates as the party’s presidential nominee – Draupadi
Murmu and Arif Khan. Murmu’s candidature was considered because of the party’s recent
focus on tribals. Murmu’s nomination is also expected to help the BJP win over
some women voters. Arif Khan was said to be considered as the presidential
nominee in a bid to garner some support from Muslims.

Also Read | Who is Yashwant Sinha, Opposition’s pick for India’s next President

Draupadi Murmu belongs
to the Santhal tribe. The 64-year-old’s life is rife with personal tragedies. She
has lost her husband, Shyam Charan Murmu, and two sons. Murmu’s rise to
political prominence came with her being elected as the councillor of
Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat in 1997. In 2000, she was elected as a legislator
from the same constituency.

Also Read | In Draupadi Murmu, BJP finds tribal face to follow Dalit president

When the Naveen
Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the BJP ran a coalition government in
Odisha, Murmu served as the minister in Commerce and Transport and subsequently
in Fisheries and Animal Resources.

Draupadi Murmu
was up against Yashwant Sinha, the candidate representing a united
opposition. Sinha was a Union Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA
government. He later joined the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress. On
Tuesday morning, Yashwant Sinha released a statement saying he must “step aside”
from party work for greater opposition unity.

The opposition had
really struggled to find a presidential candidate. Mamata Banerjee, who has
been steering the discussion on having a joint presidential candidate, had
first expressed the desire to nominate Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief
Sharad Pawar as the presidential candidate.

However, Sharad
Pawar declined the nomination. Later, Jammu and Kashmir leader Farooq Abdullah
was considered a presidential nominee, who too rejected the proposal. Finally,
the opposition has rested its faith in Yashwant Sinha, a former BJP leader who quit
his party in December, 2021, alleging that Narendra Modi’s party was undermining
democratic institutions.