India: Parliament begins voting for new president with BJP candidate favourite to win
Lawmakers in India began voting for a new president on Monday, a largely ceremonial position likely to be snatched by the BJP candidate.
India’s parliament began voting on Monday for a new president, with a female politician from the country’s marginalised tribal community the favourite for the post.
Droupadi Murmu, from the Santhal tribe, has been nominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for the largely ceremonial position.
If elected, she would be India’s first tribal president and second female president. The incumbent, Ram Nath Kovind, is the country’s second president from the Dalit community, the bottom of the Hindu caste system.
Murmu, 64, began her career as a schoolteacher in the eastern state of Odisha before going into politics. She has held ministerial positions in the state government and been governor of the neighbouring state of Jharkhand.
Murmu “has devoted her life to serving society and empowering the poor, downtrodden as well as the marginalised,” Modi tweeted after her candidacy was announced.
Her main opponent for the presidency is veteran politician Yashwant Sinha, an ex-BJP member and former finance and external affairs minister, who has been backed by opposition parties including Congress.