Droupadi Murmu, First Woman from Odisha, Becomes India’s 15th President

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: It’s a glorious moment for Odisha as daughter of the soil Droupadi Murmu has been elected as the 15th President of India. It is also a historic moment for the country. For the time ever in the history of India a grassroots level tribal woman leader will be holding the country’s constitutional position.

Incumbent President Ram Nath Kovind’s tenure is ending on July 24 and Murmu will take oath as President on July 25. She will become the country’s second female President after Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

Droupadi Murmu has her roots in the tribal hinterlands of Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district. She has risen from the grassroots of politics. She had a modest beginning as councillor of Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat in 1997. After that, she became the Vice-Chairman of Rairangpur Local Body. She was the MLA from Rairangpur for two consecutive terms from 2000 to 2009. She also became a minister in the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik led Odisha government with important portfolios between 2000 and 2004. Because of her commitment towards the people, she was conferred with the Nilkantha award for best MLA by Odisha Legislative Assembly in 2007. In 2015, Murmu became the first woman Governor of Jharkhand.

The elevation of Droupadi Murmu to this position is an outcome of the changed political and social scenario of Odisha. She has been a champion for the cause of tribal upliftment in the state. She also represents the changing role of women in Odisha. As Odisha has shown tremendous progress in women empowerment in the last more than two decades, the recognition has come in the form of Murmu being the President of India.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has always supported and worked tirelessly for the upliftment of women. Hence, it was not surprising to see Naveen’s full support to Droupadi Murmu in her Presidential election. With the direction of the Chief Minister, all BJD MLAs and MPs extended their support to Murmu. Even, leaders from other parties in Odisha also lent their support to Murmu’s candidature.

Murmu, being a tribal woman from a tribal dominated region, knows the importance of her being the president of the country. Nearly nine percent of the country’s population is tribal but till date no leader from the community could become the president of India.

Murmu now represents an important segment of the Indian society that remained sidelined for generations. The eastern part of India including Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and the North Eastern states have a considerable tribal population feel proud for Murmu’s rise to the country’s highest constitutional post.
Droupadi Murmu’s journey from Rairangpur to Rashtrapati Bhawan will have no parallels in the pages of history.

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