Is it likely to be a cakewalk for Droupadi Murmu?

Droupadi Murmu
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Droupadi Murmu

Highlights

Curtains came down on the naming of the presidential candidate by the ruling National Democratic Alliance and the Opposition parties on Tuesday night.

Curtains came down on the naming of the presidential candidate by the ruling National Democratic Alliance and the Opposition parties on Tuesday night. The NDA candidate former Jharkhand Governor Droupadi Murmu has a clear advantage over the Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha , former Union Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, given the numbers in favour of the ruling alliance.

The Opposition parties, which was led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, could not finalise the candidature for the presidential election which indicates that there is no unity among the parties. Even before the first round of meeting could take place, Maharashtra strongman Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar opted out of the race. Then former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah expressed his unwillingness to contest the election.

Disagreement among the opposition camp to put up a strong fight against the NDA candidate came to the fore as several regional parties -- TRS, BJD, AAP, SAD and YSRCP stayed away from the meeting. These regional parties did not attend the meeting of opposition parties convened by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on June 15.

Finally, one of the Opposition candidates, former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, issued a statement suggesting an alternative candidate for the election. The meeting of the opposition camp to discuss the presidential candidate was attended by the Congress party, NCP, Trinamool Congress, CPI, CPI-M, Samajwadi Party, National Conference, AIMIM, RJD and AIUDF.

Majority of Indians believe that the opposition continues to be a divided house and their presidential candidate is unlikely to give a tough fight to the NDA candidate, according to a survey. While 71 per cent of the Indians are of the view that the opposition camp lacks unity, only 29 per cent had a different opinion on the issue.

While the Opposition parties were trying to put a candidate with several parleys lined up in Delhi, the BJP was keeping its cards close to the chest keeping the Opposition guessing. Droupadi Murmu's name was making rounds as the BJP's presidential choice for the past few months, but other popular names like Ratan Tata and Sudha Murthy too were in circulation.

Finally, the BJP has announced its candidate for the top post at its Parliamentary Board meeting on Tuesday. As BJP and its allies have enough numbers, Droupadi's election is certain, though we cannot rule out the possibility of cross-voting – either way.

There is a stark contrast between them. Droupadi hails from a humble Santhal family from Orissa, while Sinha hails from the forward caste of Bhumihars. She began her career as a teacher and municipal councillor, while Sinha has a civil services background. She was with BJP while Sinha changed many parties – with former PM Chandrasekhar, BJP and TMC till his name was announced as presidential candidate of the combined opposition for obvious reasons.

A video going viral on social media platforms about Droupadi Murmu sweeping the floor of a Shiva temple before offering her prayers in her locality Rairangpur in the nondescript tribal-dominated town in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district at the crack of dawn on Wednesday ahead of her journey to Delhi is an act of gratitude to God for picking up for the top post. With blessings from God and the advantage of numbers of the ruling NDA, the selection of Murmu under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give representation to a marginalised community itself is a demonstration of the ruling party's policy to empower various strata of society.

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