Margaret Alva Picked as Joint Opposition's Candidate for Vice Presidential Polls

Reacting to her selection by the Opposition, Margaret Alva wrote on Twitter that it is a privilege and an honour.

3 min read
Margaret Alva Picked as Joint Opposition's Candidate for Vice Presidential Polls

Former governor Margaret Alva will be joint Opposition's vice presidential candidate, Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar said on Sunday, 17 July. Alva will file her nomination papers at 11 am on 19 July.

Reacting to her selection by the Opposition, Alva wrote on Twitter that it is a privilege and an honour.

"I accept this nomination with great humility and thank the leaders of the opposition for the faith they’ve put in me," she wrote.

"We tried to contact West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee but she was busy in some conference. We also tried to contact Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. He announced support (for Yashwant Sinha) a few days ago and will announce his support (for Margaret Alva) soon," Pawar said, according to news agency ANI.

The National Democratic Alliance's candidate for the vice presidential polls, to be held in August, is Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. The announcement was made on Sunday evening.


A Political Veteran

Alva is a Congress veteran and has a political career spanning over four decades during which she occupied several positions including a five-time Congress MP, a union minister and then governor.

Her selection as the VP candidate comes ahead of the 2023 Karnataka elections and signals the Opposition's urge to field a candidate described by AICC general secretary communication Jairam Ramesh as "representative of a diverse country".

Alva was elected to the Rajya Sabha for the first time in 1974 at the age of 32 years and remained in the upper house for four terms until 1998. She won her first Lok Sabha election from Karnataka and served as a member of the 13th Lok Sabha.

Alva was made Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1984 when she was just 42.

Through her three decades in Parliament as MP and later minister, Alva piloted major legislative amendments on women's rights, reservation for women in local bodies, equal remuneration, marriage laws and Dowry Prohibition Amendment Act.

Her first political setback came in 2004 when she lost the Lok Sabha election and was appointed adviser to the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training, a body established to improve the levels of the legislative function of Parliament and state legislatures.

Alva was also made AICC general secretary in charge of crucial states Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana.

She also went on to become the first woman governor of Uttarakhand besides serving as governor of Goa, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

'We Are All Together in This Election': Sanjay Raut

Opposition party leaders had met on Sunday to finalise a joint candidate for the 6 August vice presidential election, with the numbers in the electoral college firmly stacked in favour of the ruling NDA combine.

Among the attendees of the meeting were Congress' Mallikarjun Kharge and Jairam Ramesh, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D Raja and Binoy Viswam, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut, DMK's T R Baalu and Tiruchi Siva, SP's Ram Gopal Yadav, MDMK's Vaiko and TRS' K Keshava Rao.

The RJD's A D Singh, IMUL's E T Mohammed Basheer and Kerala Congress (M)'s Jose K Mani were also present.

"17 parties are on board for this unanimous decision. Our collective thinking is Alva will file her nomination on Tuesday," Pawar added.

"We are all together in this election," Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut said after the decision was announced.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena had said on 12 July that they would support the NDA nominee Droupadi Murmu for the elections to the office of the President of India.

"She (Droupadi Murmu) is a tribal woman and there is sentiment for tribals in the country. Many of our MLAs-MPs are also from the tribal community. That's why we supported her. But here in this alliance, we will support Alva for vice president," Raut added, according to ANI.

The last date for filing of nominations for the election is 19 July.


'Able, Worthy Candidate': Congratulations Pour In

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor extended his congratulations to Alva, calling her an "able, worthy and qualified candidate."

Jairam Ramesh meanwhile called Alva a "very distinguished representative of India's wonderful diversity."

(With inputs from PTI and ANI.)

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