NEW DELHI/RAIRANGPUR: NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday appeared set for smooth sailing in the presidential election after she received the crucial backing of BJD, but an unfazed Opposition nominee Yashwant Sinha asserted that he is fighting an ideological contest and the country should not have a “rubber-stamp President”.
With the support of Naveen Patnaik’s party, Murmu, who belongs to the Santhal tribal community in Odisha, has around 52 percent votes (around 5,67,000 votes) out of a total of 10,86,431 votes of all electors.
This includes 3,08,000 votes of MPs of the BJP and its allies.
The BJD has around 32,000 votes in the electorate which is around 2.9 percent of the total.
BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is currently touring Italy, appealed to all members of the state Assembly to support Murmu, 64, in the July 18 election, describing her as the daughter of the state.
On Wednesday morning, Murmu, before heading for Delhi, sought divine blessings as she swept the floor of a Shiva temple in her home in a nondescript tribal-dominated Rairangpur town in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district at the crack of dawn. It has been a daily ritual for her since she returned in August 2021 after retiring as governor of Jharkhand.
Murmu, who will be the first tribal President and the youngest to occupy the post when elected, is also likely to get the support of other regional parties, including the AIADMK and the YSRCP.
Centre accords Z+ security to NDA nominee Murmu
The Centre has accorded a Z+ security cover of CRPF commandos to the NDA’s presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu, officials said on Wednesday.
The armed squad took over the security of Murmu, 64, early Wednesday morning, a senior officer told PTI.
BJP president JP Nadda announced the candidature of Murmu, a party leader from Odisha who served as Jharkhand governor, at a press conference on Monday night following a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board, which included Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders.
Officials said soon after this announcement, the Union home ministry directed the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to deploy its VIP security protection team to take charge of Murmu’s security.
Born in the Santhal community, Droupadi Murmu began her political career as a councillor in Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat in 1997 and rose through the ranks to become a minister in the Odisha government in 2000 and later the Governor of Jharkhand in 2015.