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Meet Draupadi Murmu, BJP-led NDA candidate for race to Raisina Hills

If Murmu is elected as the president - which appears to be likely as the BJP-led NDA holds the number's edge - she will become the first member from the tribal community to hold the top constitutional office.

June 22, 2022 / 06:09 AM IST
File image of Draupadi Murmu meeting PM Modi

File image of Draupadi Murmu meeting PM Modi

Draupadi Murmu, a former governor of Jharkhand and a prominent politician belonging to Odisha's tribal community, was on June 21 named as the candidate for the presidential elections by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance.

"We announce Draupadi Murmu as NDA's candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections," BJP president JP Nadda told reporters in New Delhi, adding that "for the first time, preference has been given to a woman tribal candidate".

Murmu's candidature was announced shortly after 17 Opposition parties picked Yashwant Sinha, a former Union minister, as their joint candidate for the presidential polls.

Who is Draupadi Murmu?

Murmu was born on June 20, 1958, in Baidaposi village of Mayurbhanj district in Odisha into a Scheduled Tribe (ST) family. She went on to become a graduate and served as an Assistant Teacher at Shri Aurobindo Integral Education Centre in Rairangpur without taking any pay.

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Murmu made her entry into state politics in the 1990s, and was elected as a councilor in Rairangpur municipality in 1997. In the same year, the BJP elevated her as the vice president of its state ST Morcha.

In 2000, when the BJP came to power in Odisha in alliance with the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Murmu was appointed as the minister of state with independent charge for commerce and transport. In 2002, she was shuffled as the MoS (independent charge) for fisheries and animal resources development -- a charge she held till 2004.

She was elected twice to the Odisha legislative assembly, from 2000 to 2004 and from 2004 to 2009. In both stints, she represented the Rairangpur constituency. In 2007, the award for "the best MLA" in Odisha was conferred upon her.

Between 2006 and 2009, Murmu served as the state president of BJP's ST Morcha. From 2002-09, and from 2013-15, she was also a national executive member of the BJP's ST Morcha.

Murmu was appointed as the first woman governor of Jharkhand in 2015 by the BJP-led central government. She held the position for six years, till 2021.

If Murmu is elected as the president - which appears to be likely as the BJP-led NDA holds the number's edge - she will become the first member from the ST community to hold the top constitutional office. She will also be the second-ever female president and the first person from Odisha to hold the charge.
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