Draupadi Murmu is an Indian politician and member of the political party BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party). She is the tribal leader from Odisha and governor of Jharkhand. The BJP-led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) officially nominated her for the candidature for the presidential election in 2022 wherein she is contesting against the Yashwant Sinha, the opposition's candidate.
She is the first person from the schedule tribe to be nominated for the post of President of India. Her name as the contender for the President first came up five years ago. If she gets elected as the President of India, she will be the first person of tribal origin and the second woman who will be serving in this post. She will also be the first person whose origin is from Odisha who will be elected as President.
Draupadi Murmu was born on 20 June 1958 in a Santhal Tribal family in Uparbeda village under Kusumi Tehsil, Mayurbhanj district Odisha. Her father's name was Biranchi Narayan Tudu, and he was the village head under the system of Panchayati Raj. Her grandfather, too, serves as the village headman. Her maternal grandmother motivated her to study, and she was the only one among three siblings who completed her graduation from college. She always wanted to support her family financially, and after completing her education, she started working.
Draupadi was married to Shyam Charan Murmu, who worked as an officer in a bank. She left her job after marriage to take care of their children. The couple had three children, one girl and two boys. After a while, when her children grew up and got involved in their studies, she started working as a teacher. Her husband supported her political career, and she successfully started it as she was quite known among the parents of her students they knew her personality. She was popular for her social work.
In her personal life, she faced a tragedy and a rough patch when both her husband and sons died. She lost her 25-year-old son in 2009 in mysterious circumstances; she was recovering from the loss when she lost her second son in an accident in 2013, followed by the death of her brother and mother in the same month. A year later, in 2014, she lost her husband due to cardiac arrest, which made her depressed in her personal life. To overcome the grief, she found comfort in meditation and yoga and also took the help of counselling to overcome this tragic phase of her life. Her only daughter Itishri works at UCO bank and is married to rugby player Ganesh Hembram. The couple recently celebrated the birth of their first child.
Before entering the realm of a political career, she worked as a junior assistant in the state irrigation department from 1979-1983. She later also worked as a teacher. From 1994 she worked as an honorary teacher in Shri Aurobindo Integral Education and Research in Rairangpur. While working there, she also got offers from different social institutions to be part of social work. She worked as a social activist and visited different villages to promote educational, social and cultural development.
She joined Bhartiya Janta Party and her political career started in 1997 when she was elected as a councillor of the Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat. In the very same year, she was also elected as the Vice-Chairperson of Rairangpur NAC. She easily won this election as she was quite loved by the people of that area and popular for her social work.
She served as the national Vice President of BJP's Scheduled Tribe Morcha. In 2000 and 2009, she was elected as the MLA on the BJP ticket twice from the constituency of Rairangpur. She was a former minister in the state of Odisha and won the MLA seat from the constituency of Rairangpur in Mayurbhanj. In 2007 she was conferred Nilkantha Award for the Best MLA by Odisha Legislative Assembly.
During the BJD (Biju Janta Dal) and BJP coalition government in Odisha, she has taken oath as the minister of state. From March 6, 2000, to August 6, 2002, she served as the Minister of State with Independent Charge for Commerce and Transport and from August 6, 2002, to May 16, 2004, she served as Minister of Fisheries and Animal Development.
From 2015-2021 she also served as the ninth Governor of Jharkhand. She was the first governor in Jharkhand who completed the five-year office term and also the first person belonging to the scheduled tribe. She was also the first woman and tribal leader from Odisha to be selected for the post of Governor. Though her term of office was completed on May 18, 2020, due to the Covid pandemic, there was no new appointment made by the president for the post, and hence she served as the governor of Jharkhand for 6 years, 1 month and 18 days.
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