Christians hail Alva’s nomination as vice presidential candidate
July 18, 2022: Some Church leaders have hailed the nomination of veteran Congress leader Margaret Alva as the vice presidential candidate by India’s Opposition parties.
“It is certainly a privilege for the minority Christian community in India, as it is the first time a Christian leader is proposed to the vice president’s post,” said Father Faustine Lobo, the spokesperson of the Karnataka Regional Catholic Bishops’ Council.
The name of Alva, 80, was announced unanimously by 17 Opposition parties July 17 after they met in New Delhi.
Alva was born on April 14, 1942, in Mangalore (now Mangaluru), a Christian stronghold on the Arabian coast in Karnataka state. She has served as a federal minister and governor of Goa, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttarakhand states.
Tweeting minutes after the announcement, Alva said she was a privileged and honored to be nominated as the candidate of the joint opposition for the post of vice president of India. “I accept this nomination with great humility and thank the leaders of the opposition for the faith they have put in me,” she said.
Father Lobo, who is currently serving as a parish priest in Mangaluru, told Matters India that Alva’s candidature is a recognition to the Christian community who plays key roles in education, rural development and health services in India.
“We did not produce many politicians, but those came to the top have always witnessed the ideals of the Christian principles,” the priest observed.
Father Francis Rodrigues, a former editor of Raknno (guardian), the weekly of the diocese of Mangalore, said the Catholic Church can always proud of this nomination whether she wins or not.
“Margaret Alva is one of the few politicians with high standards of administrative qualities with wide respect and popularity as a non-corrupt leader of the country,” Father Rodrigues told Matters India.
Felix D’Souza, a lay leader who heads the Functional Vocational Training and Research Center, a developmental agency in Bengaluru, said a four-time governor and a proved administrator, Alva is certainly the “right candidate’ to the Vice president’s post.
“We had a highly respected Muslim leader like A P J Abdul Kalam as the country’s president earlier, and why don’t we have a Christian vice president now?” he asked.
In the national capital, A C Michael, national coordinator of the United Christian Forum, thanked the leaders of the opposition parties for choosing “a leader who has worked and served people of every creed and caste effectively.”
The former members of the Minority Commission of the Delhi government offered Alva “very warm best wishes as you once again taking on a responsibility at these challenging times. We will launch a prayerful campaign in Delhi.”
Alva was the 20th governor of Rajasthan, 17th governor of Goa, 23rd governor of Gujarat and 4th governor of Uttarakhand, besides being a Cabinet minister. She was also a Member of Parliament for five times and served as a a federal minister in the United Progressive Alliance government.
The ruling National Democratic Alliance has announced Jagdeep Dhankhar, the former governor of Bengal as its candidate for the vice president’s post.
The election for the 16th vice president is scheduled for August 6 and 233 elected and 12 nominated members of the Rajya Sabha and 543 elected members of Lok Sabha will vote.
On July 18, around 4,800 members of parliament and state legislative assemblies will vote to elect the 15th President of India.
The counting of votes will take place on July 21 and the next President will take oath on July 25.
The tenure of current President Ram Nath Kovind ends on July 24.
The NDA has nominated Droupadi Murmu, a tribal woman politician from the eastern state of Odisha, as its presidential candidate. If elected she would become the first tribal to become India’s president.
Some Opposition parties have nominated Yashwant Sinha, a member of the All India Trinamul Congress, as its candidate. Sinha was born in Patna, capital of Bihar state.
This article first appeared in https://mattersindia.com/