Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel submitted her resignation to Governor O P Kohli on Wednesday, hours after the BJP parliamentary board accepted her offer to quit and assigned senior cabinet minister Nitin Gadkari and party general secretary Saroj Pandey to oversee the election of the new legislature party leader.
Party sources said the Gujarat BJP MLAs were likely to meet on Thursday to elect a new leader, and the new chief minister may take oath on August 5.
Ending speculation that party chief Amit Shah could be the next Gujarat CM, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who attended the parliamentary board meeting, said: “The entire party wants him as president, because the party needs his leadership… There is no discussion about that.” Shah is expected to reach Ahmedabad on Thursday.
“The legislature party will meet tomorrow and choose the new chief minister. The person will be from Gujarat and will be an MLA,” said Naidu, in response to a query on whether a national level leader could get the post.
Later in the day, at about 5 pm, Anandiben went to Raj Bhavan and handed over her resignation letter to Kohli.
Before going to Raj Bhavan, state ministers gathered at the official residence of minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, where Gujarat BJP president Vijay Rupani addressed mediapersons. Rupani is among the names doing the rounds as Anandiben’s likely successor. He, however, said today that his “priority” is “organisation work”.
Asked if he was in the running, Rupani said, “I have been entrusted with party organisation. What can be more important work than that… Party has given me organisation work, I am fortunate… and that is my priority also… I am very satisfied with the organisation work.”
Health Minister Nitin Patel, considered a frontrunner for the CM’s post, was among those who went to Raj Bhavan in the evening.
Before tendering her resignation to the Governor, Anandiben held a high-level meeting to assess the flood situation in Valsad, Navsari and Dangs districts in south Gujarat.