Congress today said Anandiben Patel has decided to step down as Gujarat Chief Minister due to pressure from the top leadership of BJP which is “losing ground” in the state, and termed the move an indication of the saffron party’s defeat in the assembly polls due next year.
Senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela said Patel has offered to resign due to BJP high command’s diktat, whereas Ahmed Patel, Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, tweeted that her resignation is an indication of BJP’s “sure defeat” in 2017.
“This is not a voluntary decision taken by Patel. Diktat from the party high-command in Delhi is behind it. If she claims that she is resigning as she will turn 75 years in November, then she could have offered to quit just one month before November. Why has she offered it so early?” Vaghela said.
According to Vaghela, factors like Patidar community quota stir and issue of recent Dalit atrocities has forced Patel to announce her “pre-mature” exit.
“The real reason behind her decision is that BJP has lost its ground in Gujarat under her leadership. Be it Patels, Dalits, tribals, women or youth, no one is happy with her. Gujarat has become a hub of corruption,” the Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly alleged.
“In such a scenario, BJP high-command must have thought that the party would face rout in the upcoming polls if she continue as CM till 2017. Therefore, out of that pressure from the party, she has offered to resign,” he claimed.
In his tweet, Ahmed Patel said, “Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel’s resignation is an indication of BJP’s sure defeat in 2017 elections.”
Anandiben Patel took to Facebook to request the party leadership to relieve her of the post though speculation has been rife for quite some time that she is on the way out.
Elections are due in later part of 2017. An unwritten age bar of 75 has been set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the BJP leaders to hold positions in state and central governments. A minister in the BJP government since 1998, Patel succeeded Modi as chief minister on May 22, 2014.