Droupadi Murmu takes oath as 15th president of India
Droupadi Murmu was sworn in as the 15th President of India by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Monday. She has scripted history by becoming the first tribal woman ever to hold the highest constitutional office in India. PM Narendra Modi, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, and S Jaishankar, among others, and outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind were present at the ceremony.
- On Thursday, Murmu was elected as the country's 15th president as she defeated the Opposition's joint candidate, former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, by a huge margin.
- Murmu, the 64-year-old ex-Jharkhand governor, was facing a lone but strategic contest from Sinha.
- Her election was almost certain as the BJP-led NDA had the support of the required number of MPs and MLAs to back Murmu.
Earlier, Murmu's bank officer daughter, Itishree, and her spouse, Ganesh Hembram, arrived in New Delhi to attend her oath-taking ceremony. A BJP leader earlier said, "Only four members of the President-elect's family will attend the oath-taking ceremony—brother, sister-in-law, daughter, and son-in-law," adding that the spirit of the "Adivasi" culture and customs would be reflected in the 15th president's inauguration.
Six tribal BJP MLAs from the Mayurbhanj district and three members of the Rairangpur branch of the Ishwariya Prajapati Brahmakumari have reportedly attended the ceremony. Murmu began practicing Rajyoga at the Brahmakumari institutes after the demise of her husband and two sons. Apart from the aforementioned leaders, Union railway ministers Ashwini Vaishnav, Dharmendra Pradhan, and Bisweswar Tudu were also present at the event.
People in Murmu's native Uparbeda village will reportedly spend the entire day after her swearing-in on a feast. Murmu had attended Uparbeda's upper primary school from Classes 1-7. Villagers in Pahdapur, where she established a tribal residential school in memory of her late husband, Shyam Charan, and two sons, Laxman and Sipun, have built a massive LED screen to watch the oath-taking live.
"The entire day would be spent on dancing and singing and having lunch together. We also have plans to put up a large TV screen so that people can see her taking the oath," stated Sunaram Hembram, a Santhali villager of Uparbeda. "Our village is going to be famous and lots of developmental activities would be carried out," stated Pahdapur's Braja Mohan Murmu.
Murmu comes from a modest tribal family in Uparbeda village near Rairangpur and has worked her way up from a councilor to MLA, minister, and governor to being elected as India's president. Even on Saturday, celebrations were held by distributing sweets across Odisha. Naveen Patnaik, Odisha CM and BJD chief, left for a four-day trip to Delhi on Saturday to attend Murmu's swearing-in ceremony.
Murmu, belonging to the Santhal ethnicity, was the first woman to be sworn in as the Jharkhand governor in 2015. She was the first tribal woman from her home state, Odisha, to become a governor. She is the first tribal woman to be chosen as a presidential candidate and has now become the second woman after Pratibha Patil to hold India's highest constitutional post.
On the eve of Murmu's swearing-in ceremony on Monday, excitement was palpable among her family and supporters. Sukri Tudu, her sister-in-law, earlier arrived in Delhi with a rare type of saree worn by Santhal ladies in Eastern India. "I'm carrying a Santhali traditional saree...pray she will wear it during the oath-taking. Rashtrapati Bhavan will decide the dress of the new president," Sukri earlier stated.