If elected, Droupadi Murmu will be India’s first President from a tribal community, as well as the first President to be born after independence.

Droupadi Murmu, the BJP's candidate for the upcoming presidential pollsDroupadi Murmu | Credit: Tejasvi Surya/Twitter
news Politics Wednesday, June 22, 2022 - 08:26

The BJP has named Droupadi Murmu, a tribal leader of the party from Odisha, as the ruling National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) candidate for the presidential election. BJP president JP Nadda announced Murmu’s name as the presidential candidate on Tuesday, June 21, following a meeting of the party's parliamentary board, which included Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders. Murmu (64), a former Governor of Jharkhand, will be the first person from Odisha and the first tribal woman to occupy the presidential post if she is elected, a strong possibility as numbers are stacked in favour of the BJP-led NDA. The Opposition had earlier in the day announced Yashwant Sinha as its joint candidate for the post. The poll is slated for July 18.

Soon after Murmu was named as the BJP-led NDA's presidential candidate, Prime Minister Modi said she has devoted her life to serving society and expressed confidence that she will be a "great President". "Droupadi Murmu Ji has devoted her life to serving society and empowering the poor, downtrodden as well as the marginalised. She has rich administrative experience and had an outstanding gubernatorial tenure. I am confident she will be a great President of our nation.

Considered an affable leader who comes from Mayurbhanj in Odisha, Murmu has held various positions in the party rising through the ranks and was a minister in the state when the BJP was in alliance with the ruling Biju Janata Dal. If elected, she will be the first President born after independence. Nadda told reporters that around 20 names were discussed by the party leadership for the presidential candidate before it decided to pick Murmu. He said the ruling party wanted a consensus choice for the next President but it could not happen as the Opposition went ahead by naming its own candidate — Yashwant Sinha, who had been with the BJP for several years.

Droupadi Murmu is likely to file her nomination in a few days, with June 29 being the last date. Incidentally, Murmu was also considered for the post of President in 2017, before it was won by Ram Nath Kovind. Speaking after the announcement on Tuesday, June 20, she said, “I am surprised as well as delighted. As a tribal woman from remote Mayurbhanj district, I had not thought about becoming the candidate for the top post.” Born in the Santhal community, Murmu began her political career as a councillor in Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat in 1997 and rose through the ranks to become a minister in the BJD-BJP alliance government in 2000 and later the Governor of Jharkhand in 2015.

A two-term former MLA from Rairangpur, Murmu held on to her assembly seat in 2009 when the BJD had snapped ties with the BJP weeks ahead of the state elections which were swept by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's party.

Following the announcement of her candidacy, the Union government accorded the Z+ security cover to CRPF officials in charge of her security.

Read: Yashwant Sinha to be opposition candidate for presidential poll

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