Written By: Aashish Vashistha
July 25, 2022 (New Delhi): President-elect, Draupadi Murmu hails from a tribal community in Odisha. On Monday, She took oath as the 15th President of India. She was escorted by Vice-President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu. She takes the President’s office in the presence of Ramnath Kovind who was the former president of India before Murmu. Murmu during her oath ceremony focused on various chapters of Indian Democracy and its issues but she focused on the youth of the nation. Focusing on the power of youth, she said, “I want to say to the youth of our country that you are not only building your own future but also laying the foundation for future India. As the President of the country, I will always support you fully.”
Hailing from the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, Murmu is an Adivasi lady who will now occupy the highest office of our land which is to be the President Of India. There are arguments that the BJP is projecting Murmu as a catalyst that will gain the trust of tribal and marginalized communities in favor of the Bharatiya Janata Party. As a Governor of Jharkhand, in the year 2017, Murmu had shown her empathy for Adivasi concerns when she returned amendments to the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act, passed by the BJP Government of Shri Raghubar Das, to the State Legislature, to reconsider the impact upon tribal interests, thus resonating with the widespread protests in the State. To the contrary, Now BJP chose her as presidential candidate and now she is holding the seat of higest office of the country.
Adivasi leaders have their different perception on Draupadi Murmu on being elected as the President of India, some leaders are very happy with this news. For some it is ” nothing more than symbolic representation of tribal communities’, and a “distraction from the anti-tribal policies of the Central government”. Former President of the Chhattisgarh Sarv Adivasi Samaj, BPS Netam, who is also a retired IAS officer, said the stimulation of the news has been overshadowed by genuine concern. He said, “We are happy that someone from the tribal community, especially a woman, would be the country’s President. But the last President (Ram Nath Kovind) was also from a Scheduled Caste, and yet there is no visible upliftment of their community.”
Before joining politics, Murmu worked as a primary school teacher and soon became the junior assistant in the State Irrigation and Power Department from 1979 to 1983. She started her political journey as a BJP Councillor from Rairangpur constituency. Later, she worked as a professor at the Sri Aurobindo Integral Education Centre at Rairangpur till 1997. For those who are unknown, Murmu was the first woman Governor of Jharkhand and also the first female tribal leader to become the Governor of any state.