Tripti Joshi

Andrew Deoki

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Monarch  Elizabeth II
Succeeded by  Manikam Pillai
Home town  Suva
Preceded by  Vishnu Deo
Role  Statesman
Preceded by  Vijay R. Singh
Name  Andrew Deoki

Andrew Deoki httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediahifthumbf
Governor General  Ratu Sir George Cakobau

President of the Senate  Sir Robert Munro
Appointed by  Prime Minister of Fiji

Andrew Indar Narayan Deoki OBE (born c. 1915) was a Fiji Indian statesman who served his community as a social and religious leader, a soccer administrator, a member of the Legislative Council in colonial Fiji, a member of the Senate in independent Fiji and as the Attorney General.

Contents

Contribution to football in Fiji

Andrew Deoki served two terms as President of the Fiji Indian Football Association, from 1951 to 1953 and from 1955 to 1958. He was responsible for the establishment of the Fiji Secondary Schools Soccer Association which took competitive soccer to high school students. He was the manager of the first Fiji team to tour overseas, managing the 1961 tour of New South Wales. He was one of the first administrators to put forth the proposal to open up football to all races in Fiji, and despite opposition from some quarters, the word Indian was removed from Fiji soccer’s governing body to form the Fiji Football Association in August 1961.

Member of Legislative Council

Andrew Deoki had for a long time held ambitions of serving in the Legislative Council, and realised his dream when in 1956 he was nominated into the Council by the Governor. Following the retirement of Vishnu Deo from politics in 1959, Deoki won the Southern Indian Division on his own merit and was made a member of the Executive Council. He retained the seat in the 1963 election despite stiff opposition in a five-way contest, with less than 40% of the votes cast. Very early in his political career, he displayed political maturity when he realised, that being a Christian (who made up a tiny proportion of Fiji Indian community), he needed to maintain good relations with all sections of the Indian community, and consequently his nomination paper for the 1963 election was signed by two Hindus, a Muslim, a Gujarati, a South Indian and a Sikh. Although he contested the election as an independent, he received support from the Kisan Sangh's newspaper, the Kisan Mitra. He lost the Suva Indian Communal Seat to Irene Jai Narayan in 1966 election by 5,676 votes to 2,779 votes.

Conflict with A.D. Patel

In 1964, the Governor proposed the appointment of Andrew Deoki into the Executive Council. A.D. Patel objected to this, stating that “Deoki was uncooperative with him and his group” and threatened to resign as Member for Social Services. The Governor backed down and instead appointed A.D. Patel’s ally, James Madhavan. In 1966, the four Federation members of Legislative Council supported the Agricultural Landlord and Tenants Bill but Deoki showed foresight when he pointed out that the short term nature of the Bill, in the long term, failed to provide security of tenure to the Fiji Indian farmers. He opposed the establishment of the Fiji national Provident Fund (an A.D. Patel initiative) because he believed that economic conditions in Fiji made it impossible for labourers to contribute to the fund. In 1966, after he had lost the election, the Government appointed him as the Vice Chairman of the Sugar Advisory Board, which did not please A.D. Patel as Deoki was based in Suva and had little knowledge of the sugar industry.

Determined to defeat Deoki in the 1966 elections, the first to be held by universal suffrage, Patel and the Federation Party nominated Irene Jai Narayan, a teacher. Patel considered that a female candidate, a novelty at the time, would have a better chance of unseating the well-connected Deoki. The ploy succeeded: Narayan beat Deoki by 5676 votes to 2779.

1965 London Constitutional Conference

In December 1964, the Governor asked each ethnic group to select its own delegates to the 1965 London Constitutional Conference. A.D. Patel nominated himself, James Madhavan, Chirag Ali Shah and Sidiq Koya, all members of the Federation Party. The Governor stated that the Federation group did not represent all Indian political opinion in Fiji and accepted Deoki’s proposal that all the 18 unofficial members of the Legislative Council attend. At the Conference, while the Federation members insisted on common roll, the ethnic Fijian and European members wanted the status quo to be maintained. Deoki proposed a compromise whereby 12 seats (four from each of the ethnic groups) were elected on communal roll, 18 were elected from cross-voting seats, 6 Fijians, 6 Indians, 3 Europeans and one each from Chinese, Rotumans and Pacific Islanders, and the remaining 6 seats were to be elected on a common roll. Neither Deoki’s compromise nor Federation’s common roll was accepted, and instead the Conference decided on 25 communal seats (9 Fijians, 9 Indians and 7 Europeans), 9 cross-voting seats (three for each ethnic group) and two Fijians nominated by the Great Council of Chiefs. When the constitutional framework for Fiji was debated in the Legislative Council in December 1965, Deoki voted with the four Federation members against the new constitution.

Senator and Attorney General

In the 1972 elections he stood for a National seat as an independent candidate and barely managed 10% of the votes. In 1979, after the resignation of Vijay R. Singh, he was nominated to the Senate by Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and appointed Attorney General, a position he held until 1981.

Personal life

Deoki was a member of the Methodist Church.

References

Andrew Deoki Wikipedia


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