Draupadi Murmu: the first Indian president from a tribal community

Draupadi Murmu, a 64-year-old teacher turned politician, will be the second woman to hold the largely ceremonial role at the helm of the republic when she takes office on July 25 at the start of a five-year term.

More than 4,500 state and federal lawmakers cast ballots in Monday’s presidential election and ballots were counted Thursday. Murmu’s victory was assured as she was backed by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which dominates federal and state politics.

“A girl from India from a tribal community born in a remote area of ​​eastern India has been elected our president!” Modi said on Twitter.
Painter Jagjot Singh Rubal gives the finishing touches to a painting of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu in Amritsar on July 21, 2022.

Born into a family from the Santhal tribe in the state of Odisha, Murmu started her career as a teacher and was actively involved in community issues.

She later joined mainstream politics and served as a BJP state MP in Odisha before becoming governor of the eastern state of Jharkhand.

His election is seen as the BJP’s outreach to India’s tribal communities, which make up more than 8% of its 1.4 billion people.

“The BJP will want to compensate any anti-incumbent of the last 10 years in 2024, and one of the ways to do that is to go for a new voting base,” political columnist Neerja Choudhary told Reuters.

This 70-year-old Indian woman has visited 66 countries over the past 25 years.  And she don't slow down

Murmu beat opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha, a former BJP finance minister and now fierce critic of Modi, winning almost twice as many votes.

The Indian President acts as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, but the Prime Minister holds executive powers. Murmu will succeed Ram Nath Kovind.

The president nevertheless has a key role during political crises, such as when a general election is inconclusive, by deciding which party is best placed to form a government.

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