Droupadi Murmu becomes  first tribal President of India
Droupadi Murmu becomes first tribal President of India

New Delhi: Droupadi Murmu, 64,  scripted Indian  history on Thursday by becoming India's first tribal President in the one sided contest, defeating Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha. She will be the first President to be born after independence and is the youngest to occupy the top post. She is also the second woman to become the President. She will be sworn in on July 25.

Murmu’s victory was sealed after the 3rd round itself when the returning officer announced that Murmu had already gathered over 53% of the total valid votes even as ballots from 10 states and UTs are still being reckoned. She, won by an overwhelming margin against Sinha after receiving over 64% valid votes in a day-long counting of ballots of MPs and MLAs, comprising the electoral college, to succeed Ram Nath Kovind to become the country's fifteenth president.

After the end of the counting process that continued for more than 10 hours, returning officer PC Mody announced Murmu as the winner and said that she got 6,76,803 votes against Sinha's 3,80,177 votes.

Conceding defeat after the third round of counting, Sinha congratulated Murmu and said every Indian hope that as the 15th President she functions as the "custodian of the Constitution" without fear or favour.

Immediately after the announcement of the NDA presidential nominee crossing the halfway mark, PM Modi Modi and BJP president JP Nadda visited Murmu at her residence to greet  her. He congratulated Murmu on being elected to the top Constitutional post.

Taking to Twitter, Prime Minster Narendra Modi noted: "India scripts history. At a time when 1.3 billion Indians are marking Azadi-Ka-AmritMahotsav, a daughter of India hailing from a tribal community born in a remote part of eastern India has been chosen our President!"  The PM also lauded all MPs and MLAs across party lines who supported Murmu’s candidature and said her "record victory" predicts well for our democracy.

"Droupadi Murmu Ji has been an outstanding MLA and Minister. She had an excellent tenure as Jharkhand governor. I am certain she will be an outstanding President who will lead from the front and strengthen India's development journey," he said.

Born on June 20, 1958, in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district, she catapulted into the national spotlight after being picked as the ruling National Democratic Alliance’s  presidential nominee in the July 18 polls. It is from Rairangpur that she took her first step up the BJP ladder. She was a councillor in the local Notified Area Council in 1997 and rose to be a minister in Odisha's BJD-BJP coalition government from 2000 to 2004. In 2015, she was appointed governor of Jharkhand and stayed in the post till 2021.

Murmu  is an excellent orator in Santhali and Odia languages and has worked widely to improve infrastructure like roads and ports in Odisha. She is  believed to be deeply spiritual, is a keen practitioner of the meditation techniques of the Brahma Kumaris, a movement she embraced after she lost her husband, two sons, mother and brother in just six years between 2009-2015.

Murmu's tribal background not only helped propel her to the top post, but the BJP by fielding her is also looking crucial votes of the ST community in upcoming assembly polls in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, which have a significant tribal population, besides the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

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