Vala, Modi confidant, gets plum post

Vala, Modi confidant, gets plum post

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala is seen as the party’s patriarch in home state Gujarat, just like L K Advani at the national level.

Seventy-six-year-old Vala, apart from having good oratory skills, is also a qualified lawyer. A member of RSS from his school days, he has been active in the public domain since 1971. A strongman of Saurashtra politics, Vala began his career as the director of Rajkot Nagrik Sahakari bank in 1971. His tenure with the bank continued up to 1990.

Vala contested the municipal elections from Rajkot in 1975 and went on to become the mayor of the city in 1983. Party insiders say that it is the rapport that he shares with the people and party workers that enabled to win him elections, as there are only 2,000 voters who belong to his caste in his constituency. 

The six-time MLA, who holds the record of presenting the most number of budgets (18) in the state Assembly, Vala has also been its Speaker. A close confidant of not only Narendra Modi but also Keshubhai Patel, Vala was known to be the “Number Two” senior minister in the Modi ministry, prior to his election as Speaker. 

Vala had vacated his Rajkot seat for Modi when the latter contested the election for the first time in Gujarat after being appointed by the BJP in 2001.  “This is a return gift from Vajubhai from Modi for being by his side in the most difficult times of his rule in Gujarat,” said a senior party leader.

In the party circles, Vala is also known for his strong leadership qualities and good sense of humour, and as someone who shares rapport with workers of not only his constituency but in various parts of the state. 

“Like Narendrabhai he too has the quality of recognising people and knows party workers by their first name,” said a senior party leader.

“Vajubhai has the quality of being a strong leader and at the same time, he has a great sense of humour. Even amid  serious discussions, Vajubhai had the capacity to make ministers laugh with his one-liners,’’ said government spokesman and Cabinet Minister Nitin Patel, who has spent a lot of time with Vajubhai.

Party workers feel that though his language skills are sharp, it is only in Gujarati, and his sense of humour is only understood by those who understand  Saurashtrian Gujarati. 

He will resume office once he gets the written order from the President’s office and an official intimation from the Karnataka government in a couple of days.

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