Draupadi Murmu: India’s first tribal president.

Draupadi Murmu, a 64-year-old teacher-turned-politician, will become the second woman in the largely ceremonial role of head of the republic when she takes office on July 25 at the start of a five-year term.

More than 4,500 state and federal lawmakers voted in Monday’s presidential election, and the ballots were counted Thursday. Murmu’s victory was secured as it was supported by the Modi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which dominates federal and state politics.

“The daughter of India, who hails from a tribal community born in a remote part of eastern India, has been elected as our President!” Modi said on Twitter.
Artist Jagjot Singh Rubal puts the finishing touches on a portrait of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu in Amritsar, July 21, 2022.

Born into a Santhal family in Odisha, Murmu began her career as a school teacher and was active in community affairs.

She later joined mainstream politics and served as a state MP for the BJP in Odisha before becoming governor of the eastern state of Jharkhand.

Her election was seen as a message from the BJP to India’s tribal communities, which make up over 8% of India’s 1.4 billion people.

“The BJP wants to compensate in 2024 for any opposition to the president over the past 10 years, and one way to do that is to create a new electoral base,” political commentator Neerja Chowdhary told Reuters.

This 70-year-old Indian has traveled to 66 countries over the past 25 years.  And she don't slow down

Murmu defeated opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha, a former BJP finance minister and now a fierce critic of Modi, by almost twice as many votes.

The President of India acts as the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, but the Prime Minister has executive power. Murma will be replaced by Rama Natha Kovinda.

However, the president plays a key role during political crises, such as when general elections fall short, deciding which party is in the best position to form a government.