Who Is Doupadi Murmu, India’s First Adivasi President?

SRINAGAR: India’s first tribal President is the second woman in India’s history that will be in Rashtrapati Bhawan. Droupadi Murmu, 64, has polled more than half of the total votes as a BJP-led NDA candidate, to hold the highest office in India. She moves into Rashtrapati Bhawan on July 25.

Droupadi Murmu, India’s 15th President, is the second woman and first Adivasi President f India.

Murmu secured 2,824 votes with a value of 6,76,803 while her opponent Yashwant Sinha got 1,877 votes with a value of 3,80,177. Yeshwant Sinha, the joint opposition candidate, drew a blank in Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, and Sikkim.

Reports appearing in the media said that Murmu’s tribal background led to cross-voting from the opposition in her favour. As many as 120 members of assembles and 17 MPs are reported to have voted for her. She even got one vote from Kerela where NDA has no MLA at all. Interestingly, Jammu and Kashmir was not part of the election process as it lacks an assembly since 2018.

A resident of Odisha, Murmu started her political career as a councillor in Rairangpur Notified Area Council in 1997. Her father, Biranchi Narayan Tudu was a farmer in the Baldaposi village. She was elected to Odisha Assembly twice, in 2000 and 2004. Between 2000 and 2004, she was a minister in Odisha’s BJD-BJP coalition government. In 2007, she was adjudged as the best MLA in the Odhisa assembly. In 2014, she contested the assembly election from Rairangpur but lost to the BJD candidate. In 2009, she contested the Lok Sabha election from Mayurbhanj constituency but lost as the BJD and BJP severed ties.

Her last assignment was in 2015 when she was appointed governor of Jharkhand, a position she held till 2021. It was during that tenure that she refused to give an accent to a bill that could impact the landholding of the Adivasis. 

Born to a Santhal family, Murmu is an excellent Santhali and Odisha orator. A resident of remote Mayurbhanj belt’s Uparbeda area, she did her BA from Bhubaneswar’s Ramadevi Women’s College in Bhubaneswar and served as a junior assistant in the irrigation and power department in the Odisha government before jumping into the politic. Earlier, she taught for a brief period as well.

Reports appearing in the media suggest that Murmu became very spiritual after she lost her husband, two sons, mother and brother in just six years between 2009 and 2015. She is influenced by the Brahma Kumaris movement. The Braham Kumari movement exists since the 1930s and it teaches a meditation that focuses on identity as souls, rather than bodies. Her daughter Itshree is a banker.

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