A tribal activist from India has said that she is pleased with the results of the election and hopes she will become India’s first female president. Murmu will be the first president from a tribe since India’s independence in 1947. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance fielded Murmu as its candidate. He won the election with a majority of 64 per cent, with the support of at least 20 opposition votes, beating the common opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha. While many political analysts predicted his win, Murmu’s charm and conviction about protecting tribal identity won over voters. Tribal chiefs are already planning to converge on Delhi to congratulate him, with the inauguration of his presidency taking place on July 25.
Murmu hails from the Santhal tribe and the former Governor of Jharkhand. She was born in the district of Mayurbhanj in eastern Jharkhand and graduated from the University of Odisha. She taught in the region before entering politics. She served as minister in the Biju Janata Dal-BJP coalition government between 2000 and 2004, and represented the city of Rairangpur in Odisha. She has been a member of the legislature for more than 15 years, and her announcement as a candidate for President of India has been met with jubilation.
Mehta is right to point out that Indians are a diverse group. The ruling party has been growing in popularity among Hindus from “backward” castes in every election since 2014. Tribal groups comprise nearly nine percent of the population of the country, and since 2014, Hindus from these communities have voted for the ruling party. The election results are a testament to the popularity of tribal politics. And while the BJP’s support for these groups has been unwavering, it has become increasingly difficult to win over a Dalit community.
Droupadi Murmu, a former governor of Jharkhand state, will become the 15th president of India. She will also become the second woman to hold the highest office in the country. She will succeed Ram Nath Kovind when his term expires on July 24. She secured 2,824 votes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met her after the election and congratulated her on her election win. She will begin her five-year term on July 25.
The nomination of Murmu came about after the outgoing president Ramnath Kovind declined to stand for re-election. BJP parliamentary board selected him from a shortlist of about 20 candidates. But there is a big question mark over the selection of Murmu as the president of India. In a letter to his fellow BJP MPs, Kovind said, “It is a good beginning, but we should not stop there.”
The election of Murmu is likely to be a triumph for the tribes and the ruling BJP. But the victory of Murmu has not been widely welcomed by the opposition parties, which doubt that she can empower the marginalized community. While the President’s role in Indian politics is mostly ceremonial, it is important to note that the office also wields some power. For example, the head of state has the authority to send back parliamentary bills for reconsideration.