Advertisement

HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014
Will Gujarat Cong find a ‘Captain’ in 72-yr-old Vaghela?
Prasad Nichenametla & Smruti Koppikar, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, December 21, 2012
First Published: 01:09 IST(21/12/2012)
Last Updated: 02:37 IST(21/12/2012)

Shankersinh Vaghela, the 72-year-old self-proclaimed ‘Captain’ of the Gujarat Congress, is all set to lead the party in the state and its Assembly.

The position, sources said, would be uncontested because two major competitors — opposition leader Shaktisinh Gohil and party president Arjun Modhwadia — had lost the elections. Another major leader, former party president Siddharth Patel, also stands defeated.

Vaghela, a former BJP chief minister, had switched over to the Congress. Later, in 1998, he became a Union minister in the UPA-I government. A strong Kshatriya leader, he holds a lot of influence in the state — especially central Gujarat.

“Vaghela is still a strong leader, the only one in the party who can cut Modi to size,” a Congress leader said.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/12/21_12_12-metro3c.jpg

He said that though internal squabbles had dented the party’s image, Vaghela’s emergence as its sole leader would help the Congress build itself up from scratch.

Hriday Buch, party spokesperson, agreed.

“This time, we campaigned on issues like health and housing for the poor. The voters connected with the issues but seemed unconvinced about the leadership,” he said.

Legends of the fall

So, what caused the party’s defeat? A survey paper circulated in the Congress in July this year had said, “There is admiration for Narendra Modi but it’s not difficult to detect the growing rumblings in several sections of Gujarat…”

The 2012 results mean that the Congress failed to capitalise on the “rumblings” and “misgivings”.
“We never said we will win this election but we would have liked to limit the BJP to under 100 seats. We will have to go back to the drawing board,” said Modhwadia.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/12/21_12_12-metro3b.jpg

The Congress stubbornly refused to project an aggressive, son-of-the-soil leader to challenge Modi for fear of antagonising other key leaders in the state unit, leading to its defeat.

Also, palpable disquiet existed on account of ticket distribution. “While everything was controlled by people like CP Joshi and Mohan Prakash, state leaders had little say,” said a top leader in Ahmedabad.


comment Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of www.hindustantimes.com
blog comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

Gujarat Elections 2012:
Don't miss

Cong to target Modi through music CDs

In a carefully crafted strategy for the coming elections in Gujarat, the Congress is avoiding personal attacks on chief minister Narendra Modi. Instead, the party will target him on development issues, Aurangzeb Naqshbandi reports.

EC bans using Navratra functions for poll campaign

 Election Commission which on Sunday barred all kinds of political activities at religious functions in poll-bound Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh during the nine-day revelry.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Copyright © 2014 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved