With no common candidate in place, the centre-ruling BJP and the league of opposition are prepared for a paramount race for the nation's highest office as both fronts have announced their candidates for the upcoming presidential polls, which would be held on July 18. The incumbent Ram Nath Kovind would be demitting his office next month and his successor would be announced on July 21, three days after the election.
On Tuesday - June 21, the Opposition league unanimously announced veteran politician, former bureaucrat and Union Minister Yashwant Sinha as its Presidential candidate. 84-year-old Sinha was attached to Mamata's Trinamool Congress and ahead of nominating him, he has relinquished his political affiliation by quitting the party. On the other hand, the ruling BJP was surfaced with the prediction that it would pick its candidate from the minority community.
A handful of leaders from current Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, former Jharkhand Governor, Droupadi Murmu, sitting Comptroller and Auditor-General of India Girish Chandra Murmu, current Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, and even current Defence Minister Rajnath Singh were on the race. On Tuesday, the BJP's parliamentary meeting was held to finalize the pick. Presided by BJP National President JP Nadda, the meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and BJP Organization Secretary BL Santhosh.
As the opposition has announced its candidate, all eyes were on the BJP meeting as its candidate holds the edge to succeed Ram Nath Kovid. After the conclusion, BJP National President JP Nadda announced that the party has chosen Droupadi Murmu (64) as its Presidential candidate. The announcement has gained nationwide attention with the widespread foresight that the country would welcome its first Adivasi and second woman president.
Who is Droupadi Murmu? A look at her journey
Murmu has joined the race to the Raisina Hill and she brings in a vast political and constitutional experience through her nearly three-decade political career. Murmu is a prominent leader of the Tribal community that is far-flung in parts of Central India. Born on June 20, 1958, Mayurbhanj, Murmu had political affiliation with the BJP and she went on to become the first Governor of Jharkhand to complete the five-year term since its creation in 2000.
She has served as the ninth Governor of Jharkhand from 2015 to 2021. She was in the race for President in 2017 when the BJP has chosen Ram Nath Kovind as its pick. The central ruling BJP-led NDA has now nominated Murmu for the post of President of India and she is the first tribal to win the top nomination. Murmu's father and her grandfather were village headmen under the Panchayat Raj System. Murmu was a teacher by profession before venturing into politics.
Murmu was elected as the Councillor of Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat in 1997. She also served as Vice-President of BJP's Scheduled Tribes Morcha. During the BJP and Biju Janata Dal coalition government in Odisha, she was the Minister of State with Independent Charge for Commerce and Transport from March 6, 2000, to August 6, 2002, and Fisheries and Animal Resources Development from August 6, 2002, to May 16, 2004.
She had served as an MLA from the Rairangpur Assembly Constituency in Odisha and she was bestowed with the Nikantha award for best MLA by Odisha Legislative Assembly in 2007. Besides being the first full-time Governor of Jharkhand, Droupadi Murmu was the first woman Governor of Jharkhand and she was the first female tribal leader from Odisha to get appointed as a Governor.
If elected, Murmu would be the first President born after independence and with BJP's good numbers in the Parliament and in the state assemblies, Murmu is getting close to the victory line. After nominating Murmu for the post of President, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said she has devoted her life to serving society and expressed confidence that she will be a great President.
Prime Minister Modi said, "Droupadi Murmu Ji has devoted her life to serving society and empowering the poor, downtrodden as well as marginalized. She has rich administrative experience and had an outstanding gubernatorial tenure. I am confident she will be a great President of our nation." While addressing the reporters on Tuesday, BJP's JP Nadda said that around twenty names were discussed by the party leadership for the presidential candidate before picking Murmu. He further said that the ruling party wanted a consensus choice for the next President but it could not happen as the Opposition went ahead by naming its own candidate.
First words from Murmu after the nomination:
Addressing the reporters after being nominated for the top role, Droupadi Murmu said, "I am surprised. I wasn't able to believe it. I am thankful and do not wish to speak much. Whatever powers are there of a President in the Constitution, I will work accordingly. There are candidates. Our work's to go to people, reach out to members of the electoral college & seek their cooperation. I'll request all parties & states for support." Wishes have been pouring in for Murmu from across the nation.
She will be filing her nomination in a few days and the last date for filing the nomination is June 29. Murmu married Shyam Charan Murmu and the couple had two sons and a daughter. Murmu's husband and her two sons had passed away and she is living with her daughter. If elected, she will be the 15th President of India.