The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Anandiben Patel as the Chief Minister of Gujarat and said the legislature party meeting will be held on Thursday to decide next chief minister of the state.
The BJP also cleared the air on party president Amit Shah being appointed as the next Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The BJP Parliamentary Board also appointed Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and party general secretary Saroj Pandey as central observers for the legislature party meeting in which the new leader will be formally elected.
Shah, who is an MLA in the Gujarat Assembly, will also attend the meeting.
Patel’s successor will be among the party’s MLAs, Naidu asserted.
He also rejected reports that Shah can replace Patel, saying the party needs his leadership at the national level as he has taken it to “great heights” and led it to many successes.
No name of her successor was discussed in the Board’s meeting, he said.
“The Parliamentary Board gave its approval to Anandiben Patel’s wish to quit. She had wished to be relieved of her responsibility as she would turn 75 soon. She has set up a great precedent for lakhs of party workers. It put on record her very good work as the chief minister and as a minister earlier,” Naidu said.
Among the frontrunners for the post is Gujarat BJP chief Vijay Rupani, a Jain leader known to be close to both PM Modi and Amit Shah. Mr Rupani is reputed to have a form grip over the administrative mechanism of the state government.
There is also Gujarat’s most senior minister Nitin Patel, who holds several key portfolios in the Gujarat government and is, like Anandiben, an influential Patel leader from north Gujarat. Mr Patel had headed the committee that held negotiations with leaders of the Patel or Patidaar agitation for reservation in government jobs and colleges.
The survey was conducted by RSS to gauze people’s feed after an agitation broke out to protest flogging of Dalit youths over skinning of dead cow in Una.
The survey, carried out over a period of two weeks following the breakout of Dalit agitation, was done using ground-level pracharaks of the RSS who are trained to take feedback from people.
The survey also pointed at polarisation within the Hindu votebank of the BJP with Dalits gravitating away from the saffron party.
It is believed that Chief Minister Anandiben Patel was convinced by top RSS leadership of Gujarat to step down after showing her the findings of the survey.