Guwahati, June 22: The electoral battles have shifted to the presidential polls after both opposition and the ruling party announced their nominations for the upcoming polls to be held on July 18.
As the run up to the presidential election nears, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), chose former Jharkhand Governor Droupadi Murmu as their presidential candidate, while the opposition led by the Indian National Congress, Left parties, Trinamool Congress, and Samajwadi Party, have chosen former Union Minister and ex-BJP leader Yashwant Sinha against Murmu.
Who is Droupadi Murmu?
Born on June 20, 1958, at Mayurbhanj, Odisha, if elected, will have many firsts to her credit as she would be the first tribal President of India, the first leader from the east to hold the highest office, she will also be the first President of India to be born after independence. However, she will be the second female President of India after Pratibha Devisingh Patil.
She did her graduation from Ramadevi Women’s College, Bhubaneswar. Initially she started her career as a teacher before entering state politics. After working as an honourary assistant professor in the Shri Aurobindo Integral Education and Research, Rairangpur and then as a junior assistant in the irrigation department of Odisha.
Murmu belongs to a Santhal family – a tribal ethnic group. She was married to Shyam Charan Murmu. The couple had two sons and a daughter. However, her life has been marked by personal tragedies and the loss of husband and two sons.
Murmu’s political career
Murmu’s political career took off in 1997 when she was elected as the councillor of Rairangpur district of Odisha. Later she went on to become the state vice president of the BJP’s ST Morcha. She was later elected form the same constituency in 2000 assembly elections. Murmu remained the BJP district president for the Mayurbhanj district from 2002 to 2009. She held several leading roles within the BJP. During the BJD and BJP coalition government in Odisha, she served as a minister in Commerce and Transport and subsequently Fisheries and Animal Resources department between 2000 and 2004. In 2015 she was sworn in as the first woman Governor of Jharkhand. She was also the first woman and tribal leader from Odisha to be appointed as Governor of an Indian state.
Some facts about Murmu
Earlier, in 2017, many names were floated by various political parties, but Murmu emerged as a favourite of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, Ramnath Kovind was later elected for the post.
Murmu is also known as a strong administrative tribal leader as it was during her tenure as the Governor of Jharkhand when she returned the bills introduced by the BJP to amend the Chhotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act. Tribals of Jharkhand had aggressively opposed the erstwhile BJP government’s proposed amendments to the CNT & SPT Acts.
If she ends up becoming the President of India with the backing of the BJP, she would not only represent tribal population across states but can also help boost Modi’s image, impacting tribal vote share in the upcoming elections. Moreover, the BJP seeks to strengthen its political hold in Odisha and gain ground in Jharkhand where it lost the elections in 2019.