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Elections don’t frighten me, MPs’ trust will help build united India: V-P nominee

"We come from various corners of this great country, speak different languages, and follow different religions and customs. Our unity, in our diversity, is our strength.

Opposition candidate for the vice presidential election Margaret Alva pictured with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and several other opposition leaders, during her nomination filing, on Tuesday. (Express Photo)

The Opposition’s vice president candidate Margaret Alva on Tuesday said elections do not frighten her as winning and losing is a part of life but the trust of Parliamentarians across parties will help her bring people together and build a strong and united India.

In a statement after filing her nomination papers for the August 6 vice presidential election, she said the coming together of the opposition to support her candidature for the post “is a metaphor of the reality that is India”.

“We come from various corners of this great country, speak different languages, and follow different religions and customs. Our unity, in our diversity, is our strength.

“We fight for what is important to us: to uphold the pillars of democracy, to strengthen our institutions, and for an India that is ‘Saare Jahan Se Accha’, that belongs to each and every one of us. An India where there is respect for all,” she said.

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Alva (80), said it is a privilege and honour to be nominated as the joint opposition’s candidate for the post of Vice President of the Republic of India.

“I have spent my life fulfilling my commitments, with integrity and courage. Elections don’t frighten me — winning and losing is a part of life.

“However, it is my belief that the goodwill, trust, and affection of members across party lines in both houses of Parliament, that I’ve earned, will see me through and continue to guide me as one who works to bring people together, to find common solutions and helps build a strong and united India,” the Congress veteran said.

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Margaret Alva said that she accepts this nomination with great humility and thanks the leaders of the opposition for the faith they have reposed in her.

“I believe this nomination is an acknowledgement, by the united opposition, of the over 50 years I’ve spent in public life, as a member of both houses of Parliament, a union minister, a governor, a proud representative of India at the United Nations and on other global platforms, and as a fearless champion of women’s rights and the rights of underprivileged and marginalised groups and communities across the length and breadth of our great nation,” she said.

The former minister said over the last 50 years she has worked for the country with integrity, courage and commitment and “my only obligation: to serve without fear, the Constitution of India”.

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Born in 1942 in Mangalore, to Pascal and Elizabeth Nazareth, Margaret Alva was educated in Mangalore, Coimbatore and Bangalore securing her BA degree from Mount Carmel College and her Law Degree from the Government Law College. She was later conferred an honorary degree of D.Lit by the University of Mysore.

In 1964, she married Niranjan Alva, the eldest son of the famed freedom fighters Joachim and Violet Alva, the first couple in the Indian Parliament, whom she met in a student movement. They have four children and nine grandchildren.

Alva was first elected to Parliament in 1974 and served four consecutive six-year terms in the Rajya Sabha followed by one in the Lok Sabha.

During her 30 years in Parliament, she served on several important and prestigious committees, as presiding officer in both Houses and chaired the Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women for five years and was part of the Indian delegation to many international conferences.

She was Union Minister for 10 years handling important portfolios in the governments of Rajiv Gandhi and P V Narasimha Rao. She served as an advisor to the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training between 2004 and 2009.

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She has held posts in the Congress party from the local to state and national levels rising to the position of the general secretary of the All India Congress Committee. She’s been a member of the Congress Working Committee and the Central Election Committee.

Founder President of Karuna, an NGO championing the cause of women and children, she has been active in the women’s movement for over five decades.

First published on: 19-07-2022 at 03:27:18 pm
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