Murmu is NDA’s pick for Prez

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The first woman Governor of Jharkhand, Draupadi Murmu started her political career as a councillor…reports Asian Lite News

BJP chief JP Nadda declared Murmu’s candidature after a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board approved what is widely considered to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s choice for Rashtrapati Bhavan 

Droupadi Murmu, a former Governor of Jharkhand, has been named as the BJP’s choice for the post of President. If elected, the 64-year-old will be the first tribal woman to become the President of India.

Elections to choose the next President will be held on July 18, the counting on July 21. The new President will take oath on July 25, the Election Commission has said. 

Murmu’s name was announced after the BJP parliamentary board met this evening to take a final call on the Presidential candidate. The board had discussed 20 names for the post and it was decided to pick someone from east India, a tribal and a woman, said BJP Chief JP Nadda.

Murmu, 64, was a strong contender for the post before the 2017 presidential elections. But on the occasion, then Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, who happened to be a Dalit, was named as the government’s choice for the post.

The first woman Governor of Jharkhand, Draupadi Murmu started her political career as a councillor.

A two-time BJP legislator from Odisha, Murmu was a minister in the Naveen Patnaik cabinet when the Biju Janata Dal or BJD ruled the state with the support of BJP.

She also headed the BJP’s Mayurbhanj district unit in Odisha and had represented Rairangpur in the Odisha assembly.

There is speculation that the BJP may count on his support for the election, as well as of Jharkhand’s ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha party, placing the government in a comfortable position.

The President is elected by the members of the electoral college, comprising elected members of both houses of Parliament and legislative assemblies of all states as well as the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

Hailing from Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district, Murmu started out as a teacher before entering state politics. She has been an MLA twice, on BJP ticket, from Rairangpur in Mayurbhanj (2000 and 2009). During the BJP-BJD coalition government that came to power in 2000, she held the Commerce and Transport, and, subsequently, the Fisheries and Animal Husbandry portfolios. She managed to win in 2009 even as the BJP paled against the challenge put up by the by-then estranged BJD.

Before she became an MLA, Murmu served as councillor in the Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat, after winning elections in 1997, and as vice-president of the BJP’s Scheduled Tribes Morcha. In 2015, Murmu was sworn in as the first woman Governor of Jharkhand.

In her personal life, Murmu has seen much tragedy, having lost her husband Shyam Charan Murmu and two sons.

Her expected win as President – with the NDA commanding 48% of the electoral vote – will be a big boost to the BJP’s tribal push. It might also bolster the party’s hopes in Odisha, where it has been struggling to increase its footprint against a dominant BJD.

Incidentally, besides Murmu, another name that did the rounds this time had been in contention in 2017: former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

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