When Margaret Alva was called a “dumb doll”
- Margaret Alva was picked as Opposition’s vice-president candidate
- Alva is a former Union minister
- She will be up against BJP’s candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar
Margaret Alva, the united Opposition’s vice-presidential nominee, has had a long and illustrious career in politics. Starting out as a woman’s activist, Margaret Alva was introduced into politics by her husband’s family. Both her in-laws, Joachim Alva and Violet Alva, were members of Parliament. Margaret Alva became a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1974. She went on to serve three six-year terms as a member of the Upper House. One of the biggest challenges in Alva’s political career came when the Jain Hawala scandal broke.
At the time, Alva was a Minister of State for Personnel, Pensions and Public Grievances. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s top sleuthing agency, reported to her. The Jain Hawala scandal had broken and several ministers had been accused of corruption. It was at that time; Margaret Alva was told: “Then why are you sitting in this ministry like a dumb doll,” Business Standard reported in a story about her autobiography titled: “Courage and Commitment: An Autobiography”.
The Jain Hawala scandal, also called the Hawala scandal, was a financial scam involving unaccounted cash payments made through four hawala brokers – the Jain brothers. The $18 million scam implicated some of India’s leading politicians of the time.
The Jain Hawala scandal
In 1991, militancy in Kashmir was at its peak. An arrest in Kashmir led to a raid on hawala brokers that revealed payments made to several senior politicians. Two diaries and two notebooks were found and leaders across political parties, from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to Congress, SJP and Janata Dal were accused in the case. The accused included LK Advani, Devi Lal, Sharad Yadav, Balram Jakhar and Madan Lal Khurana, according to the Wikipedia entry on the case.
However, none of the accused were convicted largely because much of the evidence was in the notebooks and diaries and was found inadmissible in court.