Soon after it was decided that Bhupendra Patel, the first-time MLA from Ahmedabad’s Ghatlodia constituency, will be the next Gujarat Chief Minister following Vijay Rupani’s exit, state Congress on Sunday claimed that the government will now be “remote-controlled” by Anandiben Patel.
Anandiben Patel had stepped down as the Chief Minister in 2016, after which she was replaced by Vijay Rupani.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Paresh Dhanani, Leader of Opposition from Congress in the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha, said, “I believe that government in Gujarat will be remote-controlled like it was before. It is only that the power centre has shifted. Now the remote is with Anandiben Patel after it was taken away from the hands of Amit Shah. Only the face has changed but the problem persists.”
Dhanani added, “We had initially thought that Shah might himself take control. But he was scared to take charge after years of misrule and mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis that caused the death of 3 lakh people. That is why he has now handed over the remote control to Anandiben.”
When asked whether the step to elect 59-year-old Bhupendra Patel, a Patidar from the Kadva subcaste, is part of BJP’s efforts to woo the Patidar voters ahead of Assembly polls next year, Dhanani said, “The BJP has made Gujarat hollow from within through years of misrule. Now, they are dependent on communalism and casteism to hold on to political power. The BJP thinks Patidar community is a vote bank which can be used. But now the public has seen through their tactics. If there was even one per cent chance that the BJP government in Gujarat could have been saved, Shah would have never given up. They know that they are going to lose and that’s why the remote has been handed over to Anandiben.”