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Droupadi Murmu: Why her candidature goes beyond politics of representation and tokenism

A powerful photo has been doing the rounds of social media, showing a tribal woman, who has been nominated for the post of the President of India, walking with the mighty men of Indian politics. This poignant picture has inspired many young women from marginalised communities, like me, to dream big. Droupadi Murmu is not just a source of inspiration for us; her life and struggle, determination and success in the face of great odds represent the hope and promise of New India.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indian democracy has become more representative and inclusive. The BJP represents the New India of prosperity, equality and socio-economic mobility, reflecting the true embodiment of samajik samarasta (social harmony). A tribal woman succeeding a Dalit to the highest constitutional post of the nation is a remarkable testimony to the deepening roots of Indian democracy. Her nomination is transformational in its true sense. B R Ambedkar’s idea of synthesis and the representation of women in politics have become a reality. Born in 1958, Murmu is from the Santhal tribal community in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district. The Santhals are known for their courage. In 1855, they revolted against the Permanent Settlement of Bengal introduced by Lord Cornwallis in 1793. Murmu, too, has shown great grit and courage in her life, having fought many battles for the empowerment of the marginalised. She was a teacher and joined the BJP in 1997. She was a minister in Odisha and the governor of Jharkhand between 2015 and 2021. Her political efficacy and electoral acumen have helped push the politics of the marginalised from the edges of tokenism to the mainstream. Her nomination for the post of President of India by the BJP signifies the party’s sustained efforts to incorporate tribal communities, both politically and culturally.


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