Meet Margaret Alva, Former Governor and Now Opposition Vice Presidential Candidate

Veteran Congress Leader and former Union Minister Margaret Alva is the opposition candidate for the vice-presidential election.

The 80-year-old leader was nominated as the opposition candidate for the August 6 elections after leaders of 17 opposition parties met at the residence of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar.

Margaret Alva was an MP for about 30 years and also served as Union Minister under several terms of the Congress government.


Born on April 14, 1942 in the Mangalore district of Karnataka, Margaret Alva is a prominent lawyer, social worker and trade unionist in addition to her stint as a politician.

Margaret Alva served four consecutive six-year terms in Rajya Sabha after being first elected to the Upper House in 1974. In 1999 she was elected to Lok Sabha.

In 1984, Margaret Alva was appointed Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs in the Rajiv Gandhi government. She was then put in charge of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports and Women and Child Development.

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In 1991, Margaret Alva was appointed Union Minister of State for Personnel, Pensions, Public Grievances and Administrative Reform (attached to the Prime Minister) where she initiated the process of administrative decentralization, bringing governance to the base.

Margaret Alva also served as Coordinator in the Congress President’s Office for two years and served as the Party’s General Secretary from 2004 to 2009. She was also the National Convener of the Women’s Wing of Congress.


Margaret Alva was appointed Governor of Uttarakhand in July 2009 and was sworn in on August 6, 2009.

In May 2012, she was appointed Governor of Rajasthan in May 2012. She held this post until August 2014.

Margaret Alva also served as Governor of Goa and Gujarat for a brief period in 2014.


During her 30 years in Parliament, Margaret Alva served on some of the key committees dealing with women’s rights – the Prohibition of Dowry (Amendment) Act Committee, the Marriage (Amendment), the Equal Pay Review Committee, and the 84th Constitution. Restricted Joint Committee Amendment Bill for 33% reservation for women in local bodies.

She was also the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Women’s Empowerment from 1999 to 2004. In 1989, she chaired a core group appointed by the Government of India to draft a Women’s Perspective Plan to detail strategies for development for women.

Besides her passage in Parliament, Margaret Alva has also defended the cause of women outside. In 1986, she was elected Chair of the first Saarc Ministerial Meeting on Women in Development.

She was also part of the Unicef-sponsored conference on children in South Asia which highlighted the plight of girls and led Saarland government leaders to declare 1987 “the year of the girl child”. “.

In 1989 Margaret Alva was invited by the UN Women’s Division to chair the Expert Group meeting to assess the impact of the “Decade for Women” in decision-making and again in 1989 on violence against women.

Margaret Alva also runs an NGO that works for women and children. The NGO claims to be involved in training women elected to local bodies, organizing self-help groups for economic empowerment, and providing free legal aid and counseling centers to women in distress.

Read also | Why BJP Chose Jagdeep Dhankhar as NDA Vice Presidential Candidate

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