Presidential Polls: It's Draupadi Murmu vs Yashwant Sinha - All you need to know about them

June 29 is the last date for filing the nomination, and the election is slated for July 18.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, June 21, 2022, 10:07 PM IST
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Presidential Polls: It's Draupadi Murmu vs Yashwant Sinha - All you need to know about them |

The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) parliamentary board on Tuesday named Draupadi Murmu, a tribal leader of the party from Odisha, as the ruling NDA's candidate for the Presidential election.

BJP president J P Nadda announced her name at a press conference following a meeting of the party top brass.

"For the first time, preference has been given to a woman tribal candidate. We announce Draupadi Murmu as NDA's candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections," said Nadda.

Murmu (64), a former Jharkhand governor, will be the first tribal woman to occupy the top constitutional post if she is elected, a strong possibility as numbers are stacked in the favour of the BJP-led NDA.

Earlier in the day, several major opposition parties, including the Congress, the NCP and the TMC, today picked former Union minister Yashwant Sinha as their candidate for the Presidential polls.

Opposition leaders, who gathered at the Parliament annexe for the meeting convened by NCP chief Sharad Pawar to decide on a common candidate for the much discussed presidential election, unanimously agreed on Sinha's name.

The veteran politician, who has "stepped aside" from the Trinamool Congress and was earlier with the BJP, will file his nomination papers on June 27.

Who is Yashwant Sinha?

Yashwant Sinha's nearly four-decade-old political life has been marked by bureaucratic efficiency and close association with top leaders, ranging from socialist ideologue Chandra Shekhar to saffron party stalwart L K Advani, earning the former IAS officer key party and government positions.

However, his sharp critique of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in media over a host of issues running the gamut of policy to politics and tireless efforts to unite anti-BJP forces also ensured the octogenarian leader a space in the opposition camp.

Sinha served as Finance Minister in the short-lived Chandra Shekhar government and also in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee dispensation.

Born in Bihar and a Bihar-cadre IAS officer, he quit the administrative service after 24 years in 1984 and joined the Janata Party.

Sinha was soon entrusted with the key position of general secretary and made his debut in Rajya Sabha in 1988.

Born in Bihar and a Bihar-cadre IAS officer, he quit the administrative service after 24 years in 1984 and joined the Janata Party whose leader Chandra Shekhar took a liking to him, considered competent, articulate and clear-headed. He had also served as a principal secretary to the then Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur, also a socialist stalwart.

Sinha was soon entrusted with the key position of general secretary and made his debut in Rajya Sabha in 1988.

Various opposition leaders, including Chandra Shekhar, joined hands to form the Janata Dal to take on the Congress in the 1989 poll, and Sinha followed his mentor when he split the party to topple the V P Singh government.

As fortunes of Chandra Shekhar declined and the BJP emerged as the principal challenger to the Congress, Sinha joined the party under the influence of Advani, with whom he shared a good bond.

He was given key responsibilities, including the leader of opposition in Bihar, and later won the Lok Sabha poll from Hazaribagh in 1998, the year Vajpayee led his party to form its first regular government after the 13-day stint in 1996 when he resigned after failing to put together a majority in the House.

In 2014, the BJP denied him a Lok Sabha ticket and instead fielded his son Jayant Sinha. Later in 2018, he quit the BJP, alleging that democracy was in danger and joined the Trinamool Congress in 2021.

Who is Draupadi Murmu?

Born on June 20, 1958, Draupadi Murmu served as the Governor of Jharkhand from 2015 to 2021.

Hailing from Baidaposi village of Mayurbhanj district in Odisha and coming from a tribal community, Murmu started out as a teacher and then entered into politics.

She became MLA twice on BJP ticket from Rairangpur in Mayurbhanj (2000 and 2009).

During the BJP and Biju Janata Dal coalition government in Odisha, she was the Minister of State with independent charge for Commerce and Transport from March 6, 2000 to August 6, 2002 and Fisheries and Animal Resources Development from August 6, 2002 to May 16, 2004.

Murmu was also a national executive member of the saffron party’s ST Morcha from 2013 to 2015.

She is the first woman and tribal leader from Odisha to be appointed a Governor in an Indian state.

Meanwhile, taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he is confident that Murmu will be a great President.

He wrote, "Smt. Droupadi Murmu Ji has devoted her life to serving society and empowering the poor, downtrodden as well as the marginalised. She has rich administrative experience and had an outstanding gubernatorial tenure. I am confident she will be a great President of our nation."

"Millions of people, especially those who have experienced poverty and faced hardships, derive great strength from the life of Smt. Droupadi Murmu Ji. Her understanding of policy matters and compassionate nature will greatly benefit our country," he added.

(With PTI inputs)

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