Draupadi Murmu in race to become India’s first tribal woman president

New Delhi, Jun 23 (EFE).- Indian politician Draupadi Murmu could become the first tribal woman to hold the office of Indian president on Jul.18, after an alliance led by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominated her as a candidate for the next head of state.

Murmu landed on Thursday at the Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi, where hundreds of followers waited with floral offerings. She is expected to officially file her nomination on Friday.

The Indian president is decided through voting by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both houses of the parliament and the elected members of the Legislative assemblies of all its states and union territories.

Murmu is the front runner in the presidential race with the support of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP, which holds a parliamentary majority.

After reaching New Delhi, Murmu met with the prime minister, who underlined the massive support that she has from Indian society.

“Her Presidential nomination has been appreciated across India by all sections of society. Her understanding of grassroots problems and vision for India’s development is outstanding,” tweeted Modi after their meeting.

Murmu, 64, was born to a family of the ethnic Santal community in the eastern state of Odisha.

Her activism for the rights of tribal communities in her state brought her recognition and led her to hold several positions of influence in the region and within Modi’s BJP, which has governed India since 2014.

A year after the prime minister came to power, Murmu was appointed governor of the eastern state of Jharkhand, a position she held until 2021.

When her nomination for the presidential race was made public earlier this week, the prime minister had highlighted Murmu’s humble origins as an inspirational element for “millions of people, especially those who have experienced poverty and faced hardships.”

“She has rich administrative experience and had an outstanding gubernatorial tenure. I am confident she will be a great President of our nation,” he added.

The opposition candidate will be Yashwant Sinha, who headed the Ministry of Finance and later the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the previous BJP government from 1999 to 2004.

However, he later quit that the BJP and joined the Trinamool Congress, a powerful regional party that governs the eastern state of Bengal. EFE


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