NDA nominates Draupadi Murmu as presidential candidate

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NEW DELHI : The BJP parliamentary council on Tuesday nominated Draupadi Murmu, a tribal leader from the party in Odisha, as the ruling NDA’s candidate in the presidential election.

BJP chairwoman JP Nadda announced her name at a press conference following a party leadership meeting.

Murmu (64), a former governor of Jharkhand, will be the first tribal woman to hold the top constitutional post if elected, a strong possibility as the numbers are stacked in favor of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the BJP.

Shortly after Murmu was nominated as a candidate for the presidency of the BJP-led NDA, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the former governor of Jharkhand had dedicated her life to serving society and said she believed that she will be a “great president”. “Draupadi Murmu Ji has dedicated his life to serving society and empowering the poor, oppressed and marginalized,” Modi said on Twitter.

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She has a wealth of administrative experience and had an outstanding gubernatorial tenure, he said.

“I am confident that she will be an excellent president of our nation,” Modi said.

Millions of people, especially those who have experienced poverty and hardship, derive great strength from Draupadi Murmu’s life, the Prime Minister said. “His understanding of political issues and his compassionate nature will greatly benefit our country,” Modi said.

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The opposition earlier in the day announced former Union minister Yashwant Sinha as the joint candidate for the post. The vote is scheduled for July 18. Sinha will be the consensus presidential candidate for several opposition parties, including the Congress, the TMC and the Samajwadi party, the parties said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Opposition leaders, who gathered at the parliament annex for the meeting called by NCP leader Sharad Pawar to decide on a consensus presidential candidate, unanimously endorsed Sinha’s name.

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Earlier, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi, 77, a diplomat-turned-politician, dropped out of the race after the opposition party alliance put his name forward.

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