Bengaluru: Old-guard politician Alva has a lot of experience to offer | Bangalore News
BENGALERU: Marguerite AlvaThe 80-year-old running mate of the anti-BJP bloc is one of a handful of female politicians in India who has such broad experience, both as an elected representative and an administrator.
Although born in Mangaluru in 1942 and christened Margaret Nazareth, Alva, a protege of the late former Chief Minister D Devaraj Urs, was a quintessential Bengalurian. An arts student at Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru, she established herself as a brilliant debater and active participant in social events. Later, a student at the Government Law College, Bangalore, Alva started practicing while also pursuing social work.
It didn’t take long for Urs to recognize his oratorical skills and articulation mixed with a lot of knowledge. He wanted her to represent Karnataka in national politics. Alva was no novice in politics. Her father-in-law, Joachim Alva, served as vice-president of the Rajya Sabha and was well connected in congressional circles. With her encouragement and the persuasion of her husband Niranjan Thomas Alva, she slipped easily into politics and was soon appreciated by her elders.
She was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1974 and served as a member of the upper house for six successive terms until 1998. She was then elected to the Lok Sabha from Canara (now Uttara Kannada) constituency defeating Anantkumar Hegde of the BJP in 1999. Hegde defeated her in 2004.
She held various responsibilities including Union ministerial posts in the governments of Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao. She also served as Governor of Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand at different times between 2009 and 2014. As President of the All India Mahila Congress, Alva organized a national convention in Bangalore in 1986 and lobbied on Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to reserve for women in local bodies.
Accustomed to controversy, she had openly criticized Congressional bras for handing out party tickets. Subsequently, she was ousted from the party but came back from the cold in 2009 when she was appointed Governor of Uttarakhand.