In July, the Opposition parties announced that Congress leader Margaret Alva would be their common candidate for the Vice Presidential election. The term of the current Vice President, Venkaiah Naidu ends on August 10.
Alva, who has been a four-time governor and former Union Minister, is in race with West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, the NDA candidate for the Vice Presidential election. Like Dhankar, Alva has also been a lawyer.
Alva began her political journey under the guidance of then Karnataka CM Devaraj Urs, a close aide of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the time. In 1974, she was elected to the Rajya Sabha at the age of 32 and was re-elected to the upper house of Parliament in 1980, 1986 and 1992. She stayed a member of the Rajya Sabha till 1997—23 consecutive years.
Indira Gandhi chose Alva as as the minister of state for parliamentary affairs in 1984 when she was 42. She held the same portfolio under then PMs- Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao.
Rao appointed her as minister of state for personnel, public complaints, and pensions while Rajiv Gandhi assigned her the extra responsibilities of minister of state for youth and sports in addition to women and child development, a section of the ministry of human resource development.
Alva was tapped to represent Karnataka's Uttara Kannada in the Lok Sabha in 1999. She served as the All-India Congress Committee's general secretary between 2004 to 2009. For two years, Alva worked as coordinator in the office of Congresswoman Sonia Gandhi. She also worked as the women's wing of the Congress' national convenor..
In 2008, Alva stirred a massive controvery by publicly accusing her party's Karnataka unit of "selling tickets" to the highest bidder. This came after her son, Nivedith, was denied a seat to contest the assembly elections.
The outburst cost her politically as she was denied a ministerial post in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and her organisational responsibilities. She was also dropped as AICC general secretary as well as the party's election committee.