New Delhi, Jul 21 (EFE).- Indian politician and member of the Adivasi (tribal or indigenous) community, Droupadi Murmu, was on Thursday elected the president of India, succeeding her predecessor Ram Nath Kovind, who belongs to the marginalized Dalit community.
Murmu, the 15th president since India gained independence from the British in 1947 and the first from a tribal community, had received more than 50 percent of the votes counted by Thursday evening and was set to defeat her opponent Yashwant Sinha, a veteran politician, said the spokesperson for the presidential election, Pramod Chandra Mody.
The electorate for the polls held on Monday consisted of around 4,800 members of the two houses of the Indian parliament and regional assemblies.
Murmu’s victory was on expected lines, as she was the candidate of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which enjoys a majority in the parliament and several provincial assemblies.
She would be the second woman to occupy the post and the second in succession from a marginalized community, after Kovind – who belongs to a caste traditionally considered “untouchable” – was elected president in 2017 with Modi’s backing.
“I am certain she will be an outstanding President who will lead from the front and strengthen India’s development journey,” the prime minister tweeted after Murmu’s victory.
The 64-year-old leader was born in a family of the Santhal community in the eastern state of Odisha, and rose through the BJP ranks in regional politics while advocating the rights of the tribal community in her state.
A year after Modi first assumed office in 2014, Murmu – dubbed “Odisha’s daughter” – was appointed as the governor of the state of Jharkhand, a post that she held until 2021.
Once her candidature was made public last month, the prime minister had said that Murmu’s rise from humble origins was a source of inspiration for millions of people, “especially those who have experienced poverty and faced hardships.”
Murmu’s nomination for the post is being seen as an attempt to reach out to the discriminated Adivasi community which accounts for 8.6 percent of the population.
The leader would be sworn in on Monday for a post which has a mainly formal and symbolic role in the government as per the Indian constitution, with the prime minister vested with the key powers to head the executive. EFE