Droupadi Murmu creates history, elected first tribal president of India

Updated on Jul 21, 2022 10:01 PM IST

Presidential election 2022, Droupadi Murmu, Yashwant Sinha: President Ram Nath Kovind will finish his term July 24

NDA presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu.(Reuters)
NDA presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu.(Reuters)

Droupadi Murmu, the NDA's presidential candidate, on Thursday scripted history by becoming India's first tribal president in the one-sided contest, defeating Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha.

Murmu, 64, won by an overwhelming margin against Sinha after receiving over 64 per cent valid votes in a day-long counting of ballots of MPs and MLAs, comprising the electoral college, to succeed Ram Nath Kovid to become the country's 15th president.

After the end of the counting process that continued for more than 10 hours, returning officer PC Mody declared Murmu as the winner and said that she got 6,76,803 votes against Sinha's 3,80,177 votes.

She will be the first President to be born after independence and is the youngest to occupy the top post. She is also the second woman to become the President.

Her victory was sealed after the third round itself when the Returning officer announced that Murmu had already received over 53 per cent of the total valid votes even as Ballots from 10 states and Union territories are still being counted.

Conceding defeat after the third round of counting, Sinha congratulated Murmu and said every Indian hope that as the 15th President she functions as the "custodian of the Constitution" without fear or favour.

In a statement, Sinha thanked the leaders of the Opposition parties for choosing him as their consensus candidate in this election.

"I also thank all members of the Electoral College who voted for me. I accepted the offer of Opposition parties solely guided by the philosophy of Karma Yoga preached by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita -- 'Do your duty without expectation of the fruits thereof'," Sinha said.

"I have performed my duty conscientiously out of my love for my country. The issues I had raised during my campaign remain pertinent," he said.

Immediately after the announcement of the NDA presidential nominee crossing the halfway mark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president J P Nadda visited Murmu at her residence here to congratulate her.

"India scripts history. At a time when 1.3 billion Indians are marking Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a daughter of India hailing from a tribal community born in a remote part of eastern India has been elected our President!," Modi tweeted

He congratulated Murmu on being elected to the top Constitutional post.

"Droupadi Murmu Ji's life, her early struggles, her rich service and her exemplary success motivates each and every Indian. She has emerged as a ray of hope for our citizens, especially the poor, marginalised and the downtrodden," he said in a series of tweets.

Murmu was widely expected to be that person, given the numbers in the camp of the BJP and its allies. She will become the first member of a tribal community (and only the second woman) to become president of India.

Celebrations in anticipation of that win erupted early in Murmu's hometown in Odisha's Rairangpur, where vast quantities of sweets have been prepared.

LIVE UPDATES: 2022 presidential election - Murmu v Sinha

A video shared by news agency ANI showed drums pounding, colourful streamers, and an all-round festive air.

Murmu filed her nomination papers in the parliament this month flanked by the prime minister and home minister Amit Shah - a statement of intent and power to an opposition struggling to unite.

On paper, Sinha has the backing of at least 30 political parties, including the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Trinamool Congress and several others.

In practice though, on the day of voting there were 17 cross-voting, including Congress' Kuldeep Bishnoi (Haryana) and Mohammad Moquim (Odisha).

'Listened to my heart, acted as per conscience’: Cong MLAs vote for Murmu

Lawmakers from MP also reportedly did so, although the Congress denied this.

The president is elected indirectly - by an electoral college of all MPs and MLAs. This adds to up a total of 4,809 votes. The value of each vote is based on the population of the state s/he represents; by dividing the population by total elected Assembly members and then dividing the quotient by 1,000.

READ | Presidential polls explainer: How is a president elected?

Apart from the BJP's lawmakers, Murmu had the support of several opposition parties, including the Biju Janata Dal from her home state of Odisha

The election for a new vice president is scheduled for next month, with the BJP fielding ex Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar against the opposition front's choice of Margaret Alva, the former Rajasthan governor and five-time MP.

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