Draupadi Murmu, former governor of Jharkhand, has been announced as the presidential candidate of India from the National Democratic Alliance led by the Bhartiya Janata party.
BJP chief JP Nadda said the party’s parliamentary board had considered 20 names and decided to choose a candidate from East India, a tribe and a woman. Murmu was the leader of the Odisha BJP and cabinet minister in Naveen Patnaik’s first government between 2000 and 2004.
On the eve of the last presidential election in 2017, at a time when Murmu was governor, she was considered as the leading choice among those discussed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP leadership. The NDA continued to nominate then-Bihar Governor Ram Nat Kovind for the post. Covind won the election against former Lok Sabha president Meira Kumar, and his term ends in July.
The NDA’s choice to nominate a former vice president of its planned Morcha tribes as president of India in 2022 follows a decision five years earlier to nominate Kovind, a candidate who was BJP president Dalit Morcha.
Since Murmu represented Rairangpur in the Odyssey assembly between 2000 and 2009, the BJP has replaced the Indian National Congress as the second most powerful political force in the state after Biju’s Janata Dahl of Patnaik.
When Patnaik decided whether or not to turn his party’s support in favor of Murmu, he was faced with a choice before Shiv Sena in 2007, the year India’s first female president was elected. The Senate, an integral part of the NDA at the time, voted in favor of the UPA-led UPA Pratibha Patil because the then-governor of Rajasthan came from Maharashtra.
In December 2019, as governor of Jharkhand, Murmu oversaw the transfer of power from the BJP to the government led by Ragubar Das. She was sworn in as Hemant Soren, who took over as chief minister, with his Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in alliance with Congress.
If elected, Murmu, 64, will be the first woman in the tribe to be president of India. Earlier on Tuesday, a 13-party opposition nominated former Union Finance and Foreign Minister Jaswant Sinha as its presidential candidate.
The Electoral College, consisting of members of parliament and legislatures, will vote on July 18th to elect India’s next head of state. The ballots will be counted on July 21, and the new president will take office on July 25.