Bengaluru: 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.
Now 80, Vala was appointed as the Governor of Karnataka in August 2014, a few months after Narendra Modi stormed to power in New Delhi. He was serving as Gujarat Assembly speaker since January 2013 before he was sent to the southern state.
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.
Vala, who has earned a reputation of a crisis manager in the Gujarat unit of the BJP, was made state party chief after the rebellion by Shankarsinh Vaghela in the mid-90s that resulted in the fall of Keshubhai Patel government.
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.