Droupadi Murmu & Yashwant Sinha in 16th Prez Election Race
The ruling BJP led-NDA & the opposition both came forward to declare their nominees for the upcoming 16th Presidential Election to be held in July, with the BJP’s parliamentary board nominating former Jharkhand governor Droupadi Murmu, who hails from Odisha and will be the first Tribal woman to occupy the highest position of India if elected. The Opposition declared former finance and external minister Yashwant Sinha as its candidate. Jun 29 is set for the last date of filling nomination for the Presidential Election and its scrutiny will be done on June 30. The polling will take place on July 18 & the counting of votes will be on July 21 in Delhi. The oath ceremony of the new President will be conducted on July 25.
Earlier, announcing the decision, the ruling party made efforts to evolve a consensus over the Presidential nominee. But no consensus was formed in the discussions. Around 20 names were deliberated much, and detailed discussions were held on these names. After thorough discussion and deliberation with allies, the decision was made to nominate a woman candidate from the East, and who is also from a tribal community. The consensus was built on Droupdi Murmu’s name after the UPA has announced its nominee for the Presidential election. For the opposition, the choice revolving on Mr Sinha took a circuitous route. After two rounds of deliberations & many informal meetings, the 84-year-old bureaucrat-turned politician Mr Sinha was declared common candidate of the opposition. Mr. Sinha was elected after three public figures — NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar, former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, and former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi — refused to contest.
Born on June 20, 1958, Droupadi Murmu is a common Santhal tribesperson. Prior to her entry into politics, she was a schoolteacher & worked as a junior assistant in the irrigation & power department for four years till 1983. She also worked as a researcher in the Shri Aurobindo Integral Education college without charging any money. She started her political career after she became a councillor on a BJP ticket in the Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat in 1997. She was elected to the Rairangpur constituency twice, in 2000 and 2004, after serving as vice president of the BJP’s scheduled tribe morcha as the vice president from 2013 to 2015 & served as BJP district chief of Mayurbhanj (West) in 2010 and 2013. She has also handled different ministries in Odisha like the transport & commerce ministry, animal husbandry, and many other multiple departments. In 2015, she became the governor of Jharkhand. She makes the record for becoming the first female governor in Jharkhand. She is also the first one to complete the five-year term of governor.
On November 6, 1937, Yashwant Sinha, a former Indian administrator, was born in Patna. In 1958, he got his master's degree in political science. In 1960, he joined the IAS. In 1984, he resigned from the IAS and joined active politics as a member of the Janata Party. In 1986, He was appointed All-India General Secretary of the party & in 1988, he was elected a Member of the Rajya Sabha. He worked as finance minister in Chandra Shekhar's Cabinet from November 1990 to June 1991. He was also a member of the BJP from 1992 to 2018. He last served as the external affairs minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government from July 2002 to May 2004. He joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in 2021 & was made its national vice president.
Ideally, a consensus candidate of the government & the Opposition should be elected for the highest office of the Republic. However, the govt. must initiate for this. With both the names now out, the NDA seems to have an advantageous position over the UPA, not just in terms of numbers, but also in terms of the candidate, as the idea of picking up the first Adivasi to ever be the President post will be a powerful inducement to receive support from different fence sitting political parties like the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the YSRCP, & others. However, there is also a faint hope that some players like JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar will break away from the ruling alliance, like he did during the 2012 presidential polls, when votes polled by him in favour of UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee. Opposition leaders are expected to have fence-sitters on speed dial as they start campaigning for Sinha. In upcoming days, political activities are going to pick pace as either of the party will use its full potential to get its nominee through.