Droupadi Murmu is India’s first tribal President

Droupadi Murmu is India's first tribal President

NEW DELHI — Droupadi Murmu became India’s first tribal President on Thursday as NDA-choice Murmu scooped up over 60 per cent of the total vote value. Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha conceded defeat after three rounds of counting. The President-elect will take oath on July 25.

The counting process started at 11:00 AM at the Parliament House and after preliminaries, the actual counting started at 1:30 PM. The trends became clear after the first round where Ms Murmu stood at 39 per cent.

Droupadi Murmu got 64.03 per cent of the total vote value after three rounds of counting. Yashwant Sinha ended up with 35.97 per cent. Ms Murmu received 1,349 votes with a value of 4,83,299. Mr Sinha received 537 votes with a value of 1,89,876. A value of 5,43,000 is required for a victory.

The voting figures also indicate a considerable amount of cross-voting by opposition MPs and MLAs in Ms Murmu’s favour. While parties have declared support for one candidate or the other, there is no penalty for cross-voting in the Presidential elections.

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The winner of the Presidential election is not the candidate who gets only the most votes, but the one who crosses a quota. This quota is determined by adding votes polled for each candidate, dividing by two, and adding ‘1’ to it. Basically, one more than 50 per cent. If someone does not cross this at first, subsequent preferences marked on the ballot paper come into play.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with senior members of his Cabinet and BJP chief JP Nadda, visited Ms Murmu to congratulate her. Celebrations broke out across the country, complete with sweets and colourful tribal dances.

“I heartily congratulate Srimati Droupadi Murmu on her victory in the Presidential Election 2022. I hope — indeed, every Indian hopes — that as the 15th President of India, she functions as the Custodian of the Constitution without fear or favour. I join my fellow countrymen in extending best wishes to her,” read a statement from Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha.

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The Delhi BJP started its celebrations with a roadshow from the party headquarters to Rajpath.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has already congratulated Ms Murmu. “The first woman tribal to become President is a momentous occasion and thanks to PM Modi for giving such a unique gift. There is absolute euphoria in Assam, particularly in the tea gardens, people are very happy,” he added.

Odisha’s Rairangpur, the hometown of Ms Murmu, broke out in celebrations as the trend became clear.

The NDA’s choice of Ms Murmu — former Jharkhand Governor and a tribal woman from Odisha – drove a wedge through the opposition and brought on board non-aligned parties, such as Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal and Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress. The move is also seen as a huge political message to the tribal community, which was lately seen as being disenchanted with the BJP.

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