Sat, 13 August 2022
The Daily Ittefaq

Tribal leader Murmu elected as India's president

Update : 22 Jul 2022, 09:04

Droupadi Murmu, a tribal politician, has been elected as the new president of India.

The candidate of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the 64-year-old former teacher comes from Odisha (Orissa) state and has had a stint as a state governor.

Ms Murmu is the country's first tribal leader in the top post.

The president in India is the head of the state, but does not exercise executive powers.

He or she is elected by the members of both the houses of parliament and of the legislative assemblies of states and federally-administered union territories.

Ms Murmu registered a comfortable win against the opposition's candidate - veteran politician Yashwant Sinha. Mr Sinha, who was a senior minister in the BJP government led by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the 1990s and early 2000s, is now a vocal critic of the party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ms Murmu will now replace President Ram Nath Kovind, whose term ends on 24 July.

Ms Murmu was chosen as the presidential candidate after a detailed discussion of 20 names that the BJP and its allies had considered.

She said she learnt about her nomination from television and the news had "surprised" and "delighted" her.

"As a tribal woman from remote Mayurbhanj district, I had not thought about becoming the candidate for the top post," she told reporters after learning of her nomination.

Political leaders in Odisha had welcomed her nomination, describing her as a "daughter of the soil".

Party colleague in the state, Kabi Vishnu Satpathy, who has known her since the 1980s, describes her as a "straightforward and simple" person.

"A compassionate woman, she's good at heart, with no arrogance, no airs. She doesn't show off, mixes freely with people and is humble and down-to-earth. As a politician, she knew how to take people along."

Next month, Indian lawmakers will also vote to select the country's vice-president.

The BJP has announced Jagdeep Dhankar - a senior leader who is currently governor of West Bengal state - as its candidate. The opposition is fielding Margaret Alva, a Congress veteran who has been a federal minister several times.

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