As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and Janata Dal(Secular) vie for power in Karnataka, the focus has turned to Governor Vajubhai Vala. Vala, an old BJP hand who is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has put all appointments on hold till all results are out.
According to news agency ANI, Vala did not meet a Congress delegation which went to Raj Bhavan. By simply granting his time to one party, Vala can affect the overall outcome of a fiercely contested election as the crucial time between declaration of results and a party staking claim can make or break governments.
Vala, who vacated his Rajkot II seat in Gujarat Assembly for Modi to win his first Assembly election from Gujarat in 2001, was appointed Karnataka's governor in September 2014 soon after the BJP stormed to power.
Born on 23 January, 1938, Vala was the finance minister for nine years in Gujarat cabinet and held various portfolios in the Gujarat Government from 1998 to 2012. He holds the record of presenting the budget in the Gujarat Assembly 18 times.
He was also the speaker of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly from 2012 to 2014 and the state BJP chief during 2005 and 2006. He was one of very few Keshubhai Patel confidantes to have survived the power transition in Gujarat BJP as Vala managed to secure his position in the Modi-led cabinet as well.
Vala, the son of a Rajkot businessman, started his career as a sangh pracharak while still in school. He joined the Jana Sangh at 26 and eventually won a seat in the Rajkot Municipal Corporation in 1975, and in 1983, he became Rajkot mayor, according to a report in The Indian Express.
Vala contributed much to the party's unassailable electoral record in the state by winning seven consecutive terms from Rajkot, turning it into a safe seat for the BJP, while making inroads into the then Congress-dominated Rajkot Nagrik Sahkari Bank, eventually going on to become its president. Vala is married to Manoramabahen and has two sons and two daughters.
Meanwhile, in an interesting aside, Vala's Wikipedia profile seems to be under assault. His Wikipedia bio, till 3.12 pm introduced him as a "Pakistani politician and the governor of Indian state Wadiya since the dawn of humanity'. His image was captioned Kabali, which is also the name of a Rajinikanth starrer Tamil film. The page has now been amended to reflect his current credentials.
BJP, Congress jockey for position
With the BJP falling short of the halfway majority mark in Karnataka Assembly elections, speculation is rife that the Congress is attempting to reach an understanding with Janata Dal (Secular).
The Congress, which has been accusing JD(S) of working tacitly with the BJP, reached out to the party and offered the chief minister's seat to HD Kumaraswamy in return for keeping the BJP out of power. Ironically, the BJP trumped the Congress party in a similar way in Goa and Manipur, where it formed the government by stitching up post-poll alliances despite Congress emerging as the single largest party.
Addressing the reporters minutes after trends suggested that BJP is falling short of a clear majority, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad announced that the HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy accepted their offer during a telephonic conversation and the two parties' leaders will meet in the evening. Meanwhile, certain sections of the media also claimed that the BS Yeddyurappa-led BJP has made a counter offer to the JD(S).
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Updated Date: May 15, 2018 18:02:15 IST