It was quite a Friday evening, the time when you took slow sips of your coffee after a long and tiring week. Suddenly, you hear the name Droupadi Murmu, the new president of India, all over the news. Well, who is she and why so proud about this news? You are in the right place if you have the same question!  

Droupadi Murmu is an Indian politician and the country’s 15th president elect. She is a member of the BJP.  She is the 2nd female president of India and the first person from Odisha.  She held a number of positions in the cabinet of the Government of Odisha between 2000 and 2004 before being elected as the President. She was the 9th Governor of Jharkhand from 2015 to 2021. But before going deep into her life story, lets learn how does a presidential election takes place!

Draupathi Murmu with Narendra Modi

How do they elect a president?

Members of both Houses of Parliament, state legislators, and representatives from Delhi and Puducherry comprises of the electoral college which elects the president. The Electoral College does not include nominees for the Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, and Assemblies, or for state Legislative Councils. Votes are weighted in accordance with the 1971 Census, with the value of each vote based on the population of each state.

 A nominee wins using a technique of accumulating a predetermined number of votes rather than a simple majority. The Electoral College’s paper ballots are added up by the election panel during the counting process, and for a candidate to win, they must receive 50% of the total votes cast plus 1. The electors of the Electoral College write the names of candidates on the ballot paper in the order of choice, unlike general elections where electors vote for a single party’s candidate. Now, let us get to know more about Droupadi Murmu.

Personal life

On June 20, 1958, Biranchi Narayan Tudu gave birth to Droupadi Murmu in a Santali household in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. Her father and grandfather served as the town council’s established leaders. Murmu is an arts graduate from the Rama Devi Women’s College. She married a banker, Shyam Charan Murmu, who passed away in 2014. The couple also had a daughter named Itishri Murmu and two sons who passed away due to an accident. She also lost her husband, two boys, mother, and brother over the course of seven years, from 2009 to 2015. Hearing this itself makes us tragic, imagine the amount of tragedy Draupadi has undergone.

From 1979 to 1983, she was a junior assistant in the irrigation department of the Government of Odisha. She later served as a teacher at the Sri Aurobindo Integral Education Centre in Rairangpur, where she taught geography, math, Hindi, and Odia.

In Rairangpur, Droupadi Murmu joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She was chosen to serve as a Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat councillor in 1997. She served as the Minister of State with Independent Charge for Commerce and Transportation during the BJP and BJD coalition administration in Odisha from March, 2000, to August, 2002, and for Fisheries and Animal Resources Development from August 2002, to May 2004. She lost the 2009 Lok Sabha election for the Mayurbhanj constituency because the alliance between the BJD and the BJP had broken down.

First female governor of Jharkhand!

On May 18, 2015, Murmu took the oath of office as the first female governor of Jharkhand. For the majority of the governor’s six-year term, the BJP controlled the Jharkhand government. During her time in office, the BJP reigned the Union Government.

Draupathi Murmu

The Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act of 1908 and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act of 1949 were both submitted to amendment requests from the Raghubar Das ministry in 2016–17. The tribal communities’ rights to their land had been protected by these two laws. The laws in place stipulated that only tribe members could transact land. The new changes allowed the tribal members the authority to provide the government the ability to lease their territory and to use it for commercial purposes.

The Jharkhand Legislative Assembly had given its approval to the proposed bill altering the existing legislation. In November 2016, the bills were submitted to Murmu for approval. The tribal members had voiced their strong opposition to the proposed law. Protests were made against the tenancy act revisions during the Pathalgardi movement. A total of 192 memos were sent to Murmu opposing the bill’s modifications. Murmu finally changed her mind and declined to give the measures her assent on May 24, returning the law and the memos she had received to the state government. In August 2017, the measure was later dropped.

President elections – 2022

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) chose Murmu as its candidate for president of India in June 2022, one month before elections. The opposition parties chose Yashwant Sinha as their presidential candidate. Murmu travelled to many states during her election campaign to gather support for her campaign. Before the election, a number of opposition parties, including the BJD, JMM, BSP, and SS, among others, declared their support for her.

Murmu won the 2022 presidential election handily, defeating Yashwant Sinha of the main opposition with 676,803 electoral votes (64.03 percent of the total), in 21 of the 28 states, including the union territory of Puducherry.  Thus Murmu was elected as India’s 15th president and she will be the President of India from 25 July, 2022.

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