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Droupadi Murmu takes oath as 15th President of India, the first tribal woman to hold office

‘My nomination is evidence that the poor in India can not only dream, but also fulfill those dreams,’ the new President said in her first speech in Parliament.

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New Delhi: Droupadi Murmu took oath as the 15th President of India on Monday, becoming the country’s first tribal and only the second woman to occupy its highest office.

The ruling National Democratic Alliance’s nominee, Droupdai Murmu, comfortably defeated the Opposition’s Yashwant Sinha last week, completing a political arc that began as councillor in Odisha in 1997.

Among other firsts, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician is also the youngest President to hold office, at 64 years.

Born in a Santhali tribal community, Murmu was a school teacher and a government clerk before joining the BJP in 1997.

Murmu rose steadily in her political career, becoming the vice-chairperson of Odisha’s Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat, then an MLA from Rairangpur from 2000 to 2009. She also held ministerial responsibilities in the Naveen Patnaik government.

Murmu – the first woman in her village to get a college degree from Bhubaneshwar – was also president of BJP’s Scheduled Tribe Morcha in the state.

From 2015 to 2021, she was the Governor of Jharkhand.

Before taking oath, Droupadi Murmu visited Rajghat to pay her respects at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.

She drew up to Parliament in a ceremonial procession with outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind and was received by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.

Murmu was administered the oath by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana in the Central Hall of Parliament.

In attendance were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior politicians from across parties, state heads, Governors and military officers among others.

After taking oath, Murmu thanked members of Parliament and legislative assemblies for electing her, and putting their trust in her.

Her ensuing speech, underscoring the responsibilities ahead and the fact that this country could uplift a poor tribal to its highest office, was greeted by thunderous applause.

“I am the first President to be born in free India. We have to speed up efforts to meet the expectations of our freedom fighters,” she said, adding, “Becoming President is not my personal achievement, but that of every poor in India. My nomination is evidence that the poor in India can not only dream but also fulfill those dreams.”

She said it was satisfying to her that the underprivileged could “see me as their reflection”.

“My nomination has the poor’s blessings. It is also the reflection of the dreams and capabilities of crores of women,” Murmu said.

Also read: President-elect Droupadi Murmu pays homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat


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