New Delhi: As Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) vie for power in Karnataka, the focus has shifted to Governor Vajubhai Vala, who now holds the key.
It is up to Vala, 80, to decide who will get the first shot at proving the party strength. While the convention has been to invite the single largest party to form the government first, in Meghalaya and Goa, Congress was not invited to show strength despite being the largest party.
Vala is the Governor of Karnataka since September 2014. He served as the Speaker of the Gujarat legislative assembly from 2012 to 2014. He was a member of Hindu fundamentalist outfit Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) before joining BJP.
He was jailed for 11 months during the emergency in 1975. In 1980s, Vala was the Mayor of Rajkot. He was elected to the Gujarat legislative assembly from Rajkot West constituency multiple times.
He vacated his seat Rajkot-II in Gujarat when Prime Minister Narendra Modi contested his first state election in 2001. He won seven elections from the seat.
In 2002 assembly polls, Vala got back the Rajkot West seat when Modi moved to contest from Maninagar. He served as the Cabinet Minister in the Modi government, holding finance, revenue portfolios from 1998 to 2012.
As state finance minister, he held the record of presenting the budget 18 times in the assembly.