Who is Margaret Alva, a vocal Congress critic and now Opposition’s pick for Vice-President?

Alva has alleged that Sonia Gandhi used to run the party according to her whims and fancies. She alleged that despite then PM Manmohan Singh wanting her to be a part of his cabinet, she was handed the role of Governor without any prior discussion. She was informed of this decision by Gandhi over a short phone call, Alva further revealed.

Who is Margaret Alva, a vocal Congress critic and now Opposition’s pick for Vice-President?
Margaret Alva, a 5-term Member of Parliament, has also been a Union minister. (Photo: Twitter/@alva_margaret)

Joint Opposition vice-presidential candidate Margaret Alva has quite a similar profile as that of her opponent Jagdeep Dhankar. Like Dhankar, Alva has been a Governor, a Union minister, has a Rajasthan connection and has also had her fair share of controversies during the launch of her autobiography, ‘Courage and Commitment’ which revealed a great deal about the inner workings of the Congress, a party she has been associated with since Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister.

Born in Mangalore, Alva completed her graduation in law. After getting married in a family of Congress MPs, Alva, heavily influenced by her father-in-law Joachim Alva, joined the party in 1969. After serving several key positions within the party for half a decade, she was given a ticket to the Rajya Sabha in 1974. She was re-elected for three consecutive terms of six years in the Upper House. She has served as a Union minister in the cabinets headed by Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao. Alva has also been the governor of Goa, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.

During the launch of her memoir, Alva had spoken at length on the charges she had levelled against her party colleagues. In an interview back in 2016, Alva had revealed the lack of trust between former PM Narasimha Rao and Sonia Gandhi in the aftermath of the Bofors scandal. Alva even wrote that Rao’s picture was missing from the walls of the AICC office, though the portraits of many less important leaders were present.

Alva also claimed in the interview that Sonia Gandhi used to run the party according to her whims and fancies. She alleged that despite then PM Manmohan Singh wanting her to be a part of his cabinet, she was handed the role of Governor without any prior discussion. She was informed of this decision by Gandhi over a short phone call, Alva further revealed. Alva had also claimed several dealings between Indira Gandhi’s son Sanjay Gandhi and Wolfgang Michel, father of Augusta Westland scam accused Christian Michel.

Revealing that Sanjay Gandhi’s controversial role during the Emergency and the Turkman gate riots in 1976 had Indira Gandhi’s backing, Alva, in her book, quoted Gandhi as telling her, “Some hard decisions have to be taken….”

In 2008, Alva was removed from the post of AICC general secretary after she had alleged that tickets were for sale in the Assembly elections after the party lost.

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