Droupadi Murmu, a tribal leader from Odisha, was named the NDA’s candidate for the presidential polls next month. According to reports, Murmu, 64, is a former Jharkhand governor and will be the first tribal woman to occupy the top constitutional post if she is elected.

Born on June 20, 1958 in Baidaposi village of Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district, Murmu belongs to Santhal ethnic group. As per reports her father, Biranchi Narayan Tudu, and grandfather were the village headmen under the Panchayati Raj System.

She graduated from the Ramadevi Women’s University in Bhubaneswar with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979. She started as a teacher before entering State politics in 1997 as the councillor of Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat. The same year, she was declared the VP of BJP’s Scheduled Tribes (ST) Morcha.

Murmu was the State minister having independent charge of commerce and transport, fisheries and animal husbandry from 2000 to 2004. In 2007, she was conferred with the Nilkantha award for best MLA by Odisha Legislative Assembly.

Over the next decade, she held several leading roles within the BJP, including the State president of the ST Morcha and the BJP district president of Mayurbhan. In 2015, she became the first tribal Governor of Jharkhand and completed her five-year term.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed her after she was named the BJP-led NDA candidate for the upcoming presidential election. Here is what he said:

Murmu was quoted as saying by PTI, “I am surprised as well as delighted. As a tribal woman from remote Mayurbhanj district, I had not thought about becoming the candidate for the top post.”

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