A woman from India’s tribal minority, Draupadi Murmu, was elected as the country’s president Thursday with the backing of the ruling party, making her the first person from the marginalised community to occupy the top post.
Murmu, who is from the Santhal tribe, secured the largely ceremonial position with the support of more than half the electorate of MPs and state legislators, partial results released by the election commission showed.
Murmu, 64, was nominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the post.
Modi tweeted to congratulate Murmu, saying her “exemplary success motivates each and every Indian”.
Her closest rival, the opposition-backed Yashwant Sinha — an ex-member of the BJP and former finance and external affairs minister, also tweeted his congratulations.
“India hopes that as the 15th President of the Republic she functions as the custodian of the Constitution without fear or favour,” Sinha wrote.
Born in Mayurbhanj district in the eastern state of Odisha, the president-elect began her career as a schoolteacher before joining politics.