Draupadi Murmu, a former Governor of Jharkhand, has been named as the BJP’s choice for the post of President. Ms Murmu, a tribal from Odisha, will be pitted against former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, who has been named as the opposition candidate. If elected, the 64-year-old will be the first tribal woman to become the President of India.
Elections to choose the next President will be held on July 18, the counting on July 21. The new President will take oath on July 25, the Election Commission has said.
Ms Murmu’s name was announced after the BJP parliamentary board met this evening to take a final call on the Presidential candidate. The board had discussed 20 names for the post and it was decided to pick someone from east India, a tribal and a woman, said BJP Chief JP Nadda.
Ms Murmu, 64, was a strong contender for the post before the 2017 presidential elections. But on the occasion, then Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, who happened to be a Dalit, was named as the government’s choice for the post.
The first woman Governor of Jharkhand, Draupadi Murmu started her political career as a councillor.
A two-time BJP legislator from Odisha, Ms Murmu was a minister in the Naveen Patnaik cabinet when the Biju Janata Dal or BJD ruled the state with the support of BJP.
She also headed the BJP’s Mayurbhanj district unit in Odisha and had represented Rairangpur in the Odisha assembly.
Earlier today, Yashwant Sinha was picked as the consensus candidate of the non-BJP parties. His name came up after three earlier opposition picks – Nationalist Congress chief Sharad Pawar, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and former Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi declined the offer to stand.
The President is elected by the members of the electoral college, comprising elected members of both houses of Parliament and legislative assemblies of all states as well as the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.