Who is Droupadi Murmu, India's first tribal president?
- Draupadi Murmu, 64, has become India's 15th president
- She is the first tribal president of India
- Murmu was Governor of Jharkhand from 2015 to 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.