With former Jharkhand governor Droupadi Murmu getting more than 64 per cent of the total votes, India got its first tribal President and the youngest so far. She will be sworn in as the 15th President on July 25, succeeding present incumbent Ram Nath Kovind.

On Thursday night, Murmu, the NDA nominee, was declared elected defeating Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha. She received 2,824 out of total 6,76,803 votes polled while Sinha got 1,877 votes, said Rajya Sabha secretary general PC Modi, who was returning officer to conduct the polls. The value of her votes was 6,76,803 and in case of Sinha it was 3,80,177, Modi pointed out.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited her house along with BJP president JP Nadda after she had crossed halfway mark, described Murmu's victory as historic which would offer hope and motivation for the marginalised section of the society. "India scripts history. At a time when 1.3 billion Indians are marking Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a daughter of India hailing from a tribal community born in a remote part of eastern India has been elected our President!," Modi tweeted.

‘Excellent tenure as Jharkhand Governor’

The Prime Minister also praised her for being an "outstanding" MLA and a minister and having "an excellent tenure" as Jharkhand Governor. "I am certain she will be an outstanding President who will lead from the front and strengthen India's development journey," posted Modi on social media. Before entering into politics, she was a teacher. She became a minister in 2000 during the BJD-BJP coalition government of Odisha. Among her feat is also the fact that Murmu is the only Jharkhand governor to have completed full term of five years.

Cross voting

Leaders from all political parties, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, lined up to congratulate Murmu, born in Mayurbhanj area of Odisha, for becoming the second lady president of India. The first was Pratibha Patil, who occupied Rastrapati Bhavan for five years from July 25, 2007.

Murmu’s comfortable victory showed that Opposition parties’ MPs and MLAs cross-voted, besides BJD and YSR Congress, TDP, Shiv Sena, JMM Akali Dal had declared their support for the NDA candidate well ahead of polls. Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted “Droupadi Murmu polled 104 votes compared to NDA’s original strength of 79 in the 126 member Assam Assembly. 2 absent”. Opposition votes from some other States were also polled in the NDA candidate’s favour.