The Congress in Gujarat finally got a new president on Wednesday. Porbandar MLA and former leader of opposition Arjun Modhwadia was named as the president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC).
Modhwadia will replace Siddharth Patel, who had been asked to continue till a new president took over. Patel had quit after the debacle in the municipal corporation and district panchayat polls in October 2010.
The race was neck and neck between Modhwadia and veteran leader Shankersinh Vaghela. Though Vaghela is believed to be a leader who could give tough time to chief minister Narendra Modi, he seemingly did not find favour with Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to AICC president Sonia Gandhi. Modhwadia, on the other hand is believed to have Patel's backing.
Though Modhwadia was in high spirits, the 54-year-old leader takes charge of the party's state unit in difficult times.
After severe drubbing in the 2007 assembly polls, which was followed by the party's wipeout in the corporation as well as taluka and panchayat elections last year, the morale of the party workers took a nosedive. Considering this, the Congress is set to face tough fight later this year during the gram panchayat elections and the assembly polls next year.
A two-time legislator from Mahatma Gandhi's hometown, Modhwadia started his political career from Saurashtra University.
He was first elected to the assembly in 2002 and soon made the Congress chief whip in the house. Later, in 2004, he was appointed leader of opposition in the assembly. He continued on the post till 2007, when he was succeeded by Bhavnagar MLA Shaktisinh Gohil. Modhwadia was then appointed the spokesperson of the party.
By education, Modhwadia is a mechanical engineer.