With morale of its leaders dipping to an all-time low, Gujarat Congress will on Tuesday have its much-awaited legislative party meeting to anoint its leaders in state assembly, hours before the first session of 13th Vidhan Sabha commences. All Congress MLAs will meet for the meeting in the assembly premises, perhaps for the first time since poll results were announced last month.
Gujarat Congress has been in a headless state for last one month, after its three leaders – Arjun Modhwadia (president), Shaktisinh Gohil (leader of opposition) and Siddharth Patel – lost from their assembly constituencies. Former union textile minister and dark-horse, Shankarsinh Vaghela, won from Kapadvanj. He is set to emerge as face of the grand old party in the state, especially during next year’s general elections.
Three names are doing the rounds for post of leader of opposition – Shankarsinh Vaghela, Dhoraji MLA Vitthal Radadia and Chhota Udepur MLA Mohansinh Rathwa. Siddhpur MLA Balwantsinh Rajput is also emerging as contender for the post. Fresh from Jaipur’s Chintan Shivir, Congress leaders now are getting set for their own introspection meeting to analyse reason for their defeat.
Gujarat Congress faces a tough few months ahead, with Arjun Modhwadia resigning as president of the state unit. Also, Porbandar MP Radadia has resigned to stay in state politics. Congress, therefore, also faces a crucial by-election on Porbandar seat this year. Morale of party functionaries is so low that leaders fear that they may also lose from Porbandar if they do not put their house in order soon.
Vaghela essentially has to decide whether he wants to lead the opposition in the assembly or hold post of party president. Radadia has emerged a strong claimant for at least one of the posts.