Who Is Margaret Alva? Could Be India’s First Woman Vice President

Mad4Her By Chaithra B S | 2 min read

Margaret Alva

On July 17, about 17 opposition groups stated that Congress leader Margaret Alva to be their candidate for the vice-presidential election slated for August 6. The incumbent vice president’s term, Venkaiah Naidu, expires on August 10. 

Margaret Alva, a four-time governor and former Union minister, will face West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, the NDA’s nominee for vice president. She has also worked as a lawyer, like Dhankhar.

Everything About Margaret Alva 

Alva was born on April 14, 1942, in Mangalore, Karnataka, to a Roman Catholic family. Her father worked for the government. She graduated from Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru. She later graduated from the Government Law College in Bengaluru with a law degree. She wedded Niranjan Thomas Alva, a lawyer-turned-businessman, in 1964, becoming the daughter-in-law of Violet and Joachim Alva, both past members of Parliament. 

Joachim Alva was a Congress MP who represented Kanara in the Lok Sabha for three terms (15 years, 1952 to 1967). Niranjan Alva died in 2018 as a result of illness.

Margaret Alva is an inspiration for all of us. If you would like to know more about such inspiring stories about women empowerment, check out 10 inspiring women who break all barriers and are role models for all of us.

Her Career Towards Politics

Devaraj Urs, the former chief minister of Karnataka and a trusted ally of Indira Gandhi at the time, encouraged Margaret Alva to engage in politics. At 32 years old, she was appointed to the Rajya Sabha in 1974. She served in the Rajya Sabha for a total of 23 years after being re-elected to the upper chamber of Parliament in 1980, 1986, and 1992. She has long been recognized for her connection to the Gandhi family, starting with Indira Gandhi.

When Indira Gandhi appointed Alva as the minister of state for legislative affairs in 1984, she was 42 years old. Both Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao, who served as prime ministers, appointed her to the same position. 

Rao appointed her as minister of state for personnel, public complaints, and pensions while Rajiv Gandhi granted her the additional responsibilities of minister of state for youth and sports as well as women and child development, a division of the ministry of human resource development. 

Margaret Alva’s Presence In Lok Sabha

Margaret Alva was chosen to represent Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada in the Lok Sabha in 1999. She worked as the All-India Congress Committee’s general secretary from 2004 until 2009. For two years, Alva served as the coordinator in the office of Congresswoman Sonia Gandhi.

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She served as the Congress’s women’s wing’s national convenor as well. 

After leaving the Congress in 2008, Alva became the first female governor of Uttarakhand in August 2009 and held the role until May 2012, when she was named governor of Rajasthan. In 2014, she also briefly held the positions of the governor of Gujarat and Goa.

As a member of the Dowry Prohibition Act (Amendment) Committee, the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Committee, the Equal Remuneration Review Committee, and the Joint Select Committee for the 84th Constitution Amendment Bill’s 33% Reservation for Women in Local Bodies, Alva served in the House of Representatives for 30 years. She was chosen as the inaugural SAARC ministerial meeting’s chair on women in development in 1986. 

She also participated in the Conference on Children in South Asia, which was sponsored by UNICHEF and brought attention to the situation of girls. As a result, the SAARC Heads of Government proclaimed 1987 as “The Year of the Girl Child.”

She served as the leader of a core committee selected by the Union government in 1989 to prepare a Perspective Plan for Women that included development plans for women. She accepted an invitation from the UN Women’s Division to preside over a gathering of experts that year to discuss the effects of the “Decade for Women” on decision-making. From 1999 to 2004, she also presided over the Parliamentary Committee on Women’s Empowerment. She also oversees an NGO that supports children and women.

After a long break, Alva returned to politics earlier this year when she penned a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating her dissatisfaction with the state’s BJP government’s plan to enact legislation on religious conversions. She is once again in the public spotlight as the vice-presidential candidate of the Opposition.

If you liked this story, you could also read At 19, Maitri Patel Becomes India’s Youngest Commercial Pilot – How Did She Do It?

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