Meet Droupadi Murmu, India's 15th President
Droupadi Murmu was on Thursday elected as the 15th President of India by defeating the Opposition's joint candidate, former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha with a huge margin. Murmu will be the second woman after Pratibha Patil to hold the country's highest constitutional post, but more significantly the country's first tribal woman to become president since Independence. Here are more details about Murmu.
- Murmu, the 64-year-old ex-Jharkhand Governor, was facing a lone but strategic contest from the joint Opposition candidate, former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, in the July 18 presidential election.
- Her election was almost certain as the BJP-led NDA had the support of the required number of MPs and MLAs and the backing of several smaller parties.
Murmu began her political career as a counselor in 1997 after joining the BJP the same year. She was then chosen Vice-Chairperson of the Rairangpur National Advisory Council (NAC). She is also a two-term BJP member from Odisha and served in the Naveen Patnaik-Cabinet when the Biju Janata Dal governed the state with BJP backing.
Murmu was first elected to the Legislative Assembly from Rairangpur in 2000. She served as a minister in the BJD-BJP coalition government, handling a variety of duties including transportation and commerce, fisheries, and animal husbandry until 2004, when re-elected. Between 2006 and 2009, she was also the BJP district president in Mayurbhanj and the state president of the BJP Scheduled Tribe Morcha.
Murmu ascended through the political ranks from humble beginnings, overcoming hardship and personal tragedy. The legislative assembly presented her with the 'Nilakantha Award for Best MLA' in 2007 in recognition of her contributions as a politician.
Murmu was born in Odisha's Mayurbhanj on June 20, 1958. She completed her graduation in arts from Rama Devi Women's College in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Before joining politics, she had worked as an assistant professor at the Shri Aurobindo Integral Education and Research and as a junior assistant at the Irrigation Department of the government of Odisha.
Murmu, belonging to the Santhal ethnicity, was the first woman to be sworn in as the Jharkhand Governor in 2015. She was also the first tribal woman from her home state of Odisha to become governor. After being chosen as NDA's presidential candidate, she became the first tribal woman to have been chosen as a candidate for India's top constitutional post.