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NEW DELHI : The BJP parliamentary board on Tuesday named Draupadi Murmu, a tribal leader of the party from Odisha, as the ruling NDA’s candidate for the presidential election.

BJP president J.P. Nadda announced her name at a press conference following a meeting of the party brass.

Murmu (64), a former Jharkhand governor, will be the first tribal woman to occupy the top constitutional post if she is elected, a strong possibility as numbers are stacked in favour of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Soon after Murmu was named the BJP-led NDA’s presidential candidate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the former Jharkhand governor has devoted her life to serving society and expressed confidence that she will be a “great President". “Draupadi Murmu Ji has devoted her life to serving society and empowering the poor, downtrodden as well as the marginalised," Modi said on Twitter.

She has rich administrative experience and had an outstanding gubernatorial tenure, he said.

“I am confident she will be a great President of our nation," Modi said.

Millions of people, especially those who have experienced poverty and faced hardships, derive great strength from the life of Draupadi Murmu, the prime minister said. “Her understanding of policy matters and compassionate nature will greatly benefit our country," Modi said.

The Opposition had earlier in the day announced former Union minister Yashwant Sinha as its joint candidate for the post. The poll is slated for 18 July. Sinha will be the consensus presidential candidate of several opposition parties, including the Congress, the TMC and the Samajwadi Party, the parties said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Opposition leaders, who gathered at the Parliament annexe for the meeting convened by NCP chief Sharad Pawar to decide on a consensus candidate for the presidential election, unanimously agreed on Sinha’s name.

Earlier the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi,Gopalkrishna Gandhi, 77, a diplomat turned politician, dropped out of the race after the alliance of opposition parties proposed his name.

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