New Delhi: From a junior assistant in the irrigation and power department in Odisha to the presidential candidate of the BJP-led NDA, it has been a long and arduous journey for tribal leader Droupadi Murmu.
If elected, Murmu will be India’s first tribal President.
The announcement of Murmu’s candidature by BJP president J P Nadda came a day after she celebrated her 64th birthday.
Born in the Santhal community, Murmu began her political career as a councillor in Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat in 1997 and rose through the ranks to become a minister in the Odisha government in 2000 and later the Governor of Jharkhand in 2015.
A two-term former MLA from Rairangpur, Murmu held on to her assembly seat in 2009 when the BJD had snapped ties with the BJP weeks ahead of the state elections which were swept by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Born on June 20, 1958, Murmu also holds the distinction of becoming the first woman Governor of Jharkhand. If elected, Murmu will also be the first president to be born after Independence.
Murmu took her baby steps struggling with poverty in one of the most remote and underdeveloped districts of the country.
Overcoming all odds, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Arts from Ramadevi Women’s College in Bhubaneswar and served as a junior assistant in the irrigation and power department in the Odisha government.
Later, she also served as an honorary assistant teacher in the Shri Aurobindo Integral Education Centre in Rairangpur.
Murmu was awarded the Nilkanth Award for the Best MLA of the year in 2007 by the Odisha Legislative assembly.
She has diverse administrative experience having handled ministries such as transport, commerce, fisheries and animal husbandry in the Odisha government.
In the BJP, Murmu was the vice president and later president of the Scheduled Tribe Morcha in Odisha. She was elected as the district president of Mayurbhanj (West) unit of the BJP in 2010 and re-elected in 2013. She was also named as member of the BJP National Executive (ST Morcha) the same year.
She held the post of district president till April 2015 when she was appointed as the Governor of Jharkhand.
Murmu was married to Shyam Charan Murmu and they had two sons and a daughter. Her life has been marked with personal tragedies as she lost her husband and two sons.
Murmu’s daughter Itishree is married to Ganesh Hembram.
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