BJP-led NDA's candidate Droupadi Murmu was on Thursday elected the 15th President of India. She defeated the opposition's nominee Yashwant Sinha.
The 64-year-old Murmu is the first Indian President from a tribal community, the first from Odisha, and the first to be born after the Independence. Further, she has also become the second woman to hold the highest office in the country.
Murmu won by an overwhelming margin against Sinha after receiving over 64 percent valid votes in a day-long counting of ballots of MPs and MLAs, comprising the electoral college, to succeed Ram Nath Kovind 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.
Her victory was sealed after the third round itself when the Returning officer announced that Murmu had already received over 53 percent 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.
Murmu was born on June 20, 1958, in Mayurbhanj, Odisha. Her father, Biranchi Narayan Tudu, was a farmer in Baldaposi village. Murmu completed her graduation from Ramadevi Women's College in Bhubaneswar.
Subsequently, she started working as an honorary assistant professor in Shri Aurobindo Integral Education and Research, Rairangpur. Later, she was appointed as a junior assistant in the irrigation department of Odisha.
Her political journey started in 1997 when she joined the BJP. The same year, she was elected the councillor of the Rairangpur district in Odisha — a seat reserved for tribals. She also served as the vice-president of the BJP’s Scheduled Tribes Morcha.
In 2000, Murmu won the assembly election from the Rairangpur constituency and was given charge of the Department of Transport and Commerce by the then Biju Janata Dal government, which was in power in Odisha with BJP's support. She served as the transport and commerce minister till 2002.
In 2002, she was given the portfolio of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry. The same year, she was made the BJP district president for the Mayurbhanj district. While Murmu continued serving as the Fisheries and Animal Husbandry Minister till 2004, she remained Mayurbhanj district president for BJP till 2009. She was named the MLA of the Year by the Odisha Legislative Assembly.
In 2009, she retained her Rairangpur seat and in 2010, she was again appointed the BJP district president for Mayurbhanj. In 2013, Murmu was appointed the district president for a third term.
In 2017, she was in the running for the Presidency when the then President Pranab Mukherjee was set to leave the Rashtrapati Bhavan. However, the NDA eventuallu went with incumbent President Ram Nath Kovind.