Droupadi Murmu, India’s first president from a marginalized tribal clan, remarked after being sworn in on Monday that her victory was a “achievement of every poor person in the country”.

Murmu’s elevation to India’s highest constitutional post is considered as an essential expression of goodwill by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the communities that account for more than 8% of the country’s 1.4 billion inhabitants ahead of the 2024 general election.

Murmu, a former teacher and state minister from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is the country’s second female president. She was born into an impoverished Santhal tribe family from the eastern state of Odisha.

Members of parliament and state legislatures elected Murmu for a five-year term last week after the BJP nominated her.

“My election is proof of the fact that the poor in India can have dreams and fulfil them too,” Murmu, 64, said after taking the oath of office in parliament.

“It is a matter of great satisfaction for me that those who have been deprived for centuries and those who have been denied the benefits of development, those poor, downtrodden, backwards and tribals are seeing their reflection in me.”

Murmu’s inauguration was welcomed by Modi as a “watershed moment for India, especially for the poor, marginalised and downtrodden”

The president of India is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, although the prime minister has executive authority.

During political crises, such as when a general election is inconclusive, the president can play a crucial role by determining which party is best positioned to form a government.

Source: Reuters

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