Debate over Modhwadia as state Congress chief continues

A day after the appointment of former Union minister and Kapadvanj MLA Shankersinh Vaghela as leader of the Congress Legislature Party(CLP), the debate in the party has now shifted to whether the state party president Arjun Modhwadia will continue to hold his post or be replaced?

Modhwadia had resigned from his post on December 20, 2012, after defeat of the Congress in the Gujarat Assembly elections. He was himself defeated from the Porbander Assembly seat. He had sent the resignation letter to the party high command. But it has not been accepted and he is continuing in the post.

Reliable party sources say the party high command was not in a mood to replace Modhwadia and he would be allowed to continue in the post till 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Sources say there was no reason to make Modhwadia a scapegoat for the defeat as the reasons for the defeat were totally different.

As far as Modhwadia is concerned, a senior party leader in AICC said Modhwadia left no stone unturned to ensure better performance of the party and hence, he could not be solely held responsible for the electoral debacle.

Having taken over the presidentship of the party in March 2011 from Siddharth Patel, Modhwadia worked hard to set up party network up to the grassroots level. Party leaders say that as Modhwadia had known all the leaders from village level to the state level during the last two years, it would not be wise to replace him at a time when the local bodies elections are scheduled in February 2013 and the Lok Sabha elections are just a year ahead.

AICC leaders say his knowledge about the workers and leaders at the grassroots level would help the party in selection of suitable candidates in local bodies and Lok Sabha elections.

Another reason for the national party leadership favouring him is that he has all along been loyal to the party and this has helped him win trust of the party. Sources said even Rahul Gandhi at party's Jaipur conclave stressed that loyal party workers be given priority over those having come from other parties.

Asked if he would be contesting Lok Sabha by-poll from Porabander seat vacated by Vitthal Radadia after having got elected as MLA, Modhwadia said, "I was not in politics to contest elections. I am a party worker and happy with working for the party in any capacity."

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