Prasanna Mishra

That the world’s largest democracy elected a worthy lady from the  tribal community to the country’s highest post is an unambiguous demonstration of its commitment to social equity, gender equality and equitable progress of each segment of its population. It is a worthy homage of the Nation to womanhood.

Smt Draupadi Murmu symbolizes the indomitable Indian woman who overcomes many challenges of life. Hers has been a steady and long struggle against adversities and personal tragedies. She has overcome these hurdles and has made her life eventful. She has had experience of working in the state Secretariat; she has been a legislator for two terms, a Minister in Odisha and has been a successful Governor in a tribal dominated state. 

Nomination of Smt Murmu by the party in power as the presidential candidate was a political master stroke. Her credentials were so strong that she deserved to be a consensus candidate and should have been elected unopposed. Political forces that decided for an election were poor judge of the mood of the nation. The election witnessed cases of cross voting in a number of states and confirmed her strong credentials and people’s eagerness to see her elected to the highest of the land.

Her resounding win makes a worthy member of the tribal community for the first time the President of the Indian Republic and the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. Social impact of this historic event would reflect in women empowerment process gaining momentum even in those societies where it has been modest. It would arrest the process of economic and social marginalisation of many tribal communities in remote parts of the country. 

Odisha has reasons to rejoice the event. That the honour of becoming the President of the Republic has gone to a person belonging to the tribal community which constitutes 22.5% of the state’s population makes the people more jubilant. The Aam Aadmi of the state feels that the daughter of Odisha would expedite the pace of development in tribal areas, particularly in the area of Railway network, road and air connectivity, health and education infrastructure.  

Political observers feel that the event would benefit the party in power in the Centre and win it support of tribal population in the country. In Odisha, in particular, the party is likely to make inroads into many pockets of stronghold of the Biju Janata Dal.

Going by the geographical spread of support for her, it is most likely that the new incumbent in the Rasthrapati Bhawan would emerge as a true People’s President and hasten the process of women empowerment in the country.