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The Many Firsts Of Droupadi Murmu

By ARCHANA MASIH
June 22, 2022 18:43 IST
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When elected on July 18 -- which is almost a certainty, given the NDA's numbers in the electoral college -- Droupadi Murmu will be the first President born after Independence.

IMAGE: Droupadi Murmu, the National Democratic Alliance's Presidential candidate prepares to leave Rairangpur, Mayurbhanj district, for for Bhubaneswar, June 22, 2022.
Murmu turned 64 the day before the NDA named her its nominee for the Presidency. Photograph: PTI Photo

Dr Rajendra Prasad only President to serve two terms.
Dr Kalam only President to receive the Bharat Ratna before taking office.
K R Narayanan first career diplomat to be President.
Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy first CM to be President...
Archana Masih/Rediff.com lists interesting Presidential nuggets over the years:

 

Droupadi Murmu will be the first President born in Independent India.

At 64, she will be the youngest occupant of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

She is younger by a month to the sixth President Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy who was 64 years and two months when he took office. President Reddy was born on May 19, 1913.

On July 18, the day of the election, Murmu will be 64 years and one month; she was born on June 20, 1958.

She will be the first President born in a tribal family and the second woman to hold the First Citizen's office after Pratibha Patil.

Having worked in the Odisha irrigation department and then as an honorary teacher, she joined the Bharatiya Janata Party 25 years ago, in 1997. She began her political career as a municipal councillor.

Murmu has faced enormous personal tragedy and borne the loss of her husband and two sons. Her only daughter works at the UCO Bank in Bhubaneswar and is married to rugby player Ganesh Hembram.

The other President to be born in Odisha was V V Giri, a Telugu born in Brahmapur or Behrampur.

Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, another Telugu, is the only President to be elected unopposed. Reddy served the shortest tenure as Lok Sabha Speaker before being elected to the Presidency.

He is also the first chief minister (Andhra Pradesh) elected President. The other two chief ministers elected Presidents were Giani Zail Singh (Punjab) and Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma (Madhya Pradesh).

Ramaswamy Venkataraman and Pranab Mukherjee both served as India's finance and defence ministers before becoming President.

IMAGE: Droupadi Murmu sweeps the Purnandeswar Shiv temple in Rairangpur, Mayurbhanj district, Odisha, June 22, 2022. Photograph: PTI Photo

Dr Rajendra Prasad is the only President to serve two terms. He died 9 months after leaving Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Presidents Zakir Husain and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed are the only Presidents who died in office.

Six Presidents have been conferred the Bharat Ratna -- Dr Rajendra Prasad, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Dr Zakir Husain, V V Giri, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam and Pranab Mukherjee.

Dr Kalam is the only President to receive the Bharat Ratna prior to becoming President. He was awarded the nation's highest civilian honour five years before becoming President.

A P J Abdul Kalam was the first aerospace scientist to become President and the only non-political person to hold office. He was never a member of any political party. He was inarguably the most popular occupant of the Presidency and known as the 'People's President'.

K R Narayanan was the first career diplomat to be elected President. An Indian Foreign Service officer, he was a former Indian ambassador to the United States, China, Thailand and Turkey.

He is also the first from a Dalit family to be elected President. Ram Nath Kovind is the second President from a Dalit family.

Presidents Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma worked with four prime ministers.

Dr Radhakrishnan: Jawaharlal Nehru, Gulzari Lal Nanda (acting PM), Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi.

Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma: P V Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral.

IMAGE: Droupadi Murmu is greeted by well-wishers in Rairangpur, June 21, 2022, after the NDA announcement about her candidature. Photograph: PTI Photo

Seven of 14 Presidents hailed from south India.

Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Madras Presidency which comprised present Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Odisha), Dr Zakir Husain (Hyderabad state, present Andhra Pradesh), V V Giri (Telugu, born in present day Odisha), Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy (Andhra Pradesh), Ramaswamy Venkataraman (Tamil Nadu), K R Narayanan (Kerala), A P J Abdul Kalam (Tamil Nadu.)

Three from north India: Dr Rajendra Prasad (Bihar), Giani Zail Singh (Punjab) and Ram Nath Kovind (Uttar Pradesh).

One from central India: Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma (Madhya Pradesh)

Two from the east: Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (Assam) and Pranab Mukherjee (West Bengal).

One from the west: Pratibha Patil (Maharashtra).

The longest surviving former President was R Venkataraman. He died at 98.

The following Presidents served as Vice-President before being elected President: Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (alongside Dr Rajendra Prasad), Dr Zakir Husain (alongside Dr S Radhakrishnan), V V Giri (alongside Dr Zakir Husain), Ramaswamy Venkataraman (alongside Giani Zail Singh), Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma (alongside R Venkataraman) and K R Narayanan (alongside Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma).

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ARCHANA MASIH / Rediff.com
 
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