Sunday, Jul 14, 2002
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By Manas Dasgupta
Mr. Raval when contacted in Delhi said they had submitted their resignations at the behest of the party high command.
The PCC sources here said the former Chief Minister, Shankarsinh Waghela, is the most likely choice for the State presidentship to take on the BJP Chief Minister, Narendra Modi's challenge in the coming Assembly elections.
A change of guard in the State party was on the cards for sometime. Several rounds of talks were held between the high command leaders and the State office-bearers and others for the last fortnight in Delhi to finalise the alternative choices.
The talk about the change of leadership began after the party observers, appointed by the high command to study the political situation in each district in the State, reported to the high command the need for revamping the State organisation to face the coming elections.
Several formulae were believed to be under discussion in Delhi, including one to shift Mr. Chaudhary back as the leader of the opposition in place of Mr. Raval who could be taken to Delhi as a secretary in the AICC with Mr. Waghela taking over as the party president.
Despite intense groupism in the party, Mr. Waghela has emerged as the most possible choice for the presidentship because of his background in the BJP. Mr. Waghela, who has spent nearly 30 years in the BJP and was instrumental in building up the organisation in the State to its present formidable position, could also exploit its weaknesses to the advantage of the Congress. However, his rebellion against the BJP leadership because he was denied the chief ministership, was held against him by his detractors in the party.
However, the question of appointing a new leader of the opposition in place of Mr. Raval may not arise if Mr. Modi goes ahead with the dissolution of the Assembly as expected.
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