Amid high speculations and murmurs on the position of Gujarat’s Chief Minister, after Vijay Rupani handed his resignation to Governor Acharya Devvrat on Saturday, BJP announced Bhupendra Patel’s name.
The first time MLA from Ghatlodia, the seat held by former CM and current Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, was not speculated, even in the senior circles of the state BJP. Bhupendra Patel is a former Chairman of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority, in addition to the Chairman of multiple committees of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
Even after holding so many “important” positions, he has never made to the front-runners of the party as names like Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, current Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, and even Praful Patel, the Administrator of the U.T.s Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep were conjectured.
Thanking PM Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, and J P Nadda, Bhupendra Patel spoke to the media on Sunday, where he hinted that his appointment might have been proposed by Anandiben. He announced he will be meeting the Governor at 6 pm to claim his candidature and will take oath on Monday afternoon.
A BJP leader from Ahmedabad said, “his name was not dragged in any land deal or any realty project in the city, even when he was holding important positions in the relevant authorities”.
The sudden change led to many speculations and garnered reactions from the opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as MLA Raghav Chaddha claimed his party’s decision to contest the upcoming assembly elections in Gujarat “forced” BJP to change the Chief Minister.
“Whenever the Aam Aadmi Party enters a state, turbulence in the political spectrum is observed. So far there has been a convenient musical chair between Congress and the BJP in states. After the emergence of AAP, people got to know about the power of the Opposition. The inefficient Congress gradually went on the back foot after the AAP started playing the role of Opposition from the front,” he said.
He then added that apart from Aam Aadmi Party, there has been no other party to challenge the non-performing Chief Minister in the states where BJP is in power. “Congress does not have that ability as it is a compromised Opposition. It is AAP that has challenged the BJP.
It came under pressure. AAP made BJP understand: either perform or perish. Be it Uttarakhand or Gujarat where the AAP has entered, BJP had to change the chief ministers.
They changed the chief minister in Uttarakhand several times. Now is the time for Gujarat. The influence of AAP is growing in Gujarat. AAP is the big reason that BJP needs to change the chief minister in Gujarat,” he added.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut remarked that any change in the Chief Ministers in Gujarat or Uttarakhand or Karnataka is Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) “internal matter”.
“This is their internal matter. The high command of any party which has a majority and which is a national party has the right to change the Chief Minister of a particular State [where the party has power] as they please. Earlier, the CMs of Uttarakhand and Karnataka were changed, and now it is Gujarat’s turn,” he said.