After the Opposition picked former Union minister Yashwant Sinha for the Presidential polls to be held on July 18, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) announced its candidate to be the 15th President of India.
The NDA picked the former governor of Jharkhand, Droupadi Murmu. A former leader of the BJP, Murmu was born in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district and was the constitutional head of Jharkhand from May 2015 to July 2021.
Murmu has also served as a Minister of State (Independent charge) in the BJP-BJD (Biju Janata Dal) coalition government, in her home state of Odisha. She has also held the state’s commerce and transport portfolio. From August 2002 to May 2004, she headed the fisheries and animal resources development ministry.
Murmu belongs to the Santhal Tribe, one of India’s oldest and largest tribal community.
The NDA is expecting support from the Jharkhand Mukti Morch (JMM), a Scheduled Tribe (ST)-led party, for Murmu’s candidature. The JMM is likely to break ranks with the coalition of opposition parties, as they announced Sinha’s candidature.
Veteran politician and also former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who served both as Finance and External Affairs minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government of the 1990s and early 2000s, now a vocal critic of his former party’s policies, was named the Opposition’s candidate for the top job. Mr. Sinha joined the TMC last year, before resigning from the party, as he was chosen as the prime candidate.
Leaders of the non-BJP parties, who gathered in New Delhi for a meeting convened by NCP Chief Sharad Pawar to decide on a consensus candidate for the presidential election, unanimously agreed on Mr. Sinha’s name.
His nomination came after Mr. Pawar and Mr. Farooq Abdullah, as well as Mr. Gopalkrishna Gandhi, rejected the Opposition’s offer to run for President.
Whether the NDA also gets support from Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde-led camp, which has led to much turmoil in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, remains t be seen,
The electoral college for the presidential election comprises 543 Lok Sabha, 233 Rajya Sabha and 4,033 members of legislative assemblies. The total value of the parliamentarians’ votes is 5,43,200, and that of assembly members 5,43,231, totalling 1086431.
NDA is the largest group in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, but it still needs support from smaller parties and independents to secure a win. The BJP is in power in 18 states. It has 5,32,351 out of 1086431 votes.
If victorious, Murmu will be the second woman to become India’s President, after Pratibha Patil. She will also be the first woman from the tribal community to take the top job.
The new President will begin his/her tenure as the First Citizen on July 25, a day after the incumbent, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, finishes his five-year-term.
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