NDA’s pick for president Droupadi Murmu with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah on Thursday, a day of hectic activity for the tribal leader who flew in from Bhubaneswar in the morning ahead of filing her nomination papers for the post.
The 64-year-old former Jharkhand governor, who has been the cynosure of attention since she was chosen for the post by the BJP-led NDA earlier this week, is expected to file her papers on Friday in the presence of top leaders, including from the BJD.
Modi is tipped to be the first proposer. A host of senior BJP leaders, including Union ministers and functionaries from other parties supporting her bid, are also set to be among the proposers.
Her nomination papers were being prepared at the home of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi.
Modi said her candidature for the post of president has been appreciated across India by all sections of society.
In a tweet, Modi said, “Met Droupadi Murmu Ji. Her Presidential nomination has been appreciated across India by all sections of society. Her understanding of grassroots problems and vision for India’s development is outstanding.”
“Met NDA’s presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu and conveyed best wishes to her. Tribal society is feeling very proud by the announcement of her name. I am sure her administrative and public experience will benefit the whole country,” Shah tweeted in Hindi.
Murmu, who also called on Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today, will meet a host of senior leaders before embarking on a nationwide campaign, urging different political parties to support her bid.
If elected, a strong possibility given that she already has the support of a majority in the electoral college, she will be the first tribal person to be the president of India and the second woman in the post.
The Opposition has fielded former Union minister Yashwant Sinha as its joint candidate for the post.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has appealed to all MLAs of the state to support the daughter of the soil in the July 18 presidential polls, said two of his cabinet colleagues will be there when Murmu files her papers.
“BJP President Shri @JPNadda Ji spoke to me about the filing of nomination of Smt #DraupadiMurmu Ji for #PresidentElections. My cabinet colleagues Shri @saraka_fan and Smt @ TukuniSahu will sign nomination papers today and attend the event tomorrow,” the BJD chief, who is currently on an official foreign tour to Italy, said on Twitter.
Besides, at least 10 of the BJP’s 22 MLAs in the state will remain present.
Her candidature was also endorsed by Meghalaya’s ruling BJP-backed Meghalaya Democratic Alliance. A formal decision on the matter will be taken at a meeting of the coalition partners, a senior member said.
Five Congress MLAs who were suspended for supporting the MDA are also likely to vote in favor of Murmu, who rose from being a counselor in Odisha to Jharkhand governor and now the woman most likely to be president of the country.
According to the Akhil Bhartiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, an RSS affiliate, the NDA’s decision to nominate Murmu, from the Santhal community, is historic.
In a statement in Hindi, it said tribal society had to suffer neglect for years despite being an integral part of Indian tradition and culture.
With the country being home to over 12 crore tribals, Murmu’s nomination as the NDA candidate is a move towards bringing social change, it stated.
It also called on all parties to support her nomination and elect her unanimously.
“A tribal sister will be occupying the country’s highest constitutional post. It is a matter of pride for all of us, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan added in Bhopal.
At an event at the BJP office in the city, Chouhan and state BJP president VD Sharma, both wearing tribal outfits, danced with a large group of tribal people.
There was dance and music at the Bhubaneswar airport too before she left for Delhi.
In a brief statement issued before she took her flight, Murmu said, “I thank all and seek cooperation from everyone for the presidential election. I will meet all voters (lawmakers) and seek their support before July 18.”
She had reached the Odisha capital from her home in Rairangpur town in Mayurbhanj district on Wednesday night after covering a distance of 280 km by road amid cheers and greetings from people along the way.
“People of the country love my mother for her simplicity and soft-spoken nature. She has left to serve the country after handing over the responsibilities of the family to me,” her daughter Itishree Murmu told reporters at the airport
In Delhi, befitting her status as the NDA’s nominee for president, several Delhi BJP leaders, including state president Adesh Gupta, party MPs Manoj Tiwari and Ramesh Bidhuri, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly, welcomed her at the airport.
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