Published: 22nd June 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: Who is BJP’s Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu?
The Presidential Elections in India will be held in July 2022. Who has the BJP chosen to fight its fight this year? Let’s find out
After KR Narayan became the first Dalit President of India in 1997, India might just get its first tribal President with the BJP-led NDA announcing Droupadi Murmu as their presidential candidate. If elected, she will also become the second female President of the country. Also, the first President to be born after the Independence.
Videos of her sweeping a Shiv temple in Rairangpur, Odisha are already doing the rounds on social media; Z+ category security has been approved for her by the Centre and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Smt Droupadi Murmu Ji has devoted her life to serving society and empowering the poor, downtrodden as well as the marginalised. She has rich administrative experience and had an outstanding gubernatorial tenure. I am confident she will be a great President of our nation."
Let’s find out a little bit more about her and some crucial points about the Presidential Election.
Who is Droupadi Murmu?
Droupadi Murmu, who was born in the Santhal community in Odisha, started out as a teacher before entering politics. She began her political career as a councillor in Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat in 1997 and rose through the ranks to become a minister in the BJD-BJP alliance government in 2000, as stated in a report by ANI. She has held the portfolios of Commerce and Transport and subsequently, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry. She, later on, became the first woman Governor of Jharkhand in 2015. She also served as the Vice-President of BJP’s Scheduled Tribes Morcha.
Was she considered for the President's post in the past as well?
Yes, Murmu was a strong contender for the post before the 2017 Presidential elections. However, the then Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, who happened to be a Dalit, was named as the President.
What about the representation of SC and ST candidates in Indian bureaucracy? How has it been so far?
While Dalits account for 16.6 per cent of India’s population, according to 2011 census data, reports have claimed that their representation in India’s bureaucracy continues to be on the lower side. Data from the parliament shows that out of 89 secretaries posted at the centre, only one belongs to Scheduled Castes (SC) and three belong to Scheduled Tribes (ST). So far, India has had only two Presidents from the Dalit community: KR Narayan and Ram Nath Kovind, and only one deputy Prime Minister from the community: Jagjivan Ram.
Who is the opposition candidate?
Opposition leaders announced former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha as their joint candidate for the Presidential elections after three other leaders — Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah and Gopalkrishna Gandhi — refused to contest.
Sinha began his political career by joining the Janata Party in 1984. He joined the BJP in 1992 but exited in 2018. He then joined the Trinamool Congress in 2021 and was made its National Vice-President. He has also served as the Minister of Finance and Minister of External Affairs among other positions during his political career.
How will the election take place this year?
The President is elected by members of the Electoral College including elected members of Parliament and the legislative assemblies of all states including the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry, according to Article 55 of the Indian Constitution.
What's the timeline we are looking at?
The term of the current President Kovind will end on July 28. The last date for filing nominations is June 29. The election will be held on July 18 and the results of the Presidential polls will be declared on July 21.