Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Tuesday refuted media reports which suggested that BJP is mulling to remove her and bring in another party leader at the helm of affairs in the state, saying “nothing like that is on”.
“Nothing like that is on,” Anandiben told reporters at Indore in Madhya Pradesh where she had gone to participate in the ongoing Simhastha Kumbh at Ujjain and meet spiritual guru Bhaiyu Maharaj.
She blamed media for linking her and state Health Minister Nitin Patel’s visit to Delhi, suggesting that a change of leadership in Gujarat was imminent.
The Gujarat CM arrived at Indore to meet spiritual guru Bhaiyu Maharaj at his Vijay Nagar residence. When mediapersons asked her about reports of change of leadership, she quipped “At present, I am here in Indore.”
“You (media) had linked two different visits to Delhi to come to this conclusion. I had gone to Delhi for the meeting related to water crisis and Nitinbhai (Nitin Patel, health minister) had gone to Delhi on the NEET issue,” she said.
Asked whether the BJP’s political base has suffered because of Patel quota agitation, she said, “At present there is no Patel agitation going on in the state. This protest is completely over now.”
Speculations are rife in a section of media about a possible change of leadership in Gujarat ahead of the 2017 elections.
The reports had said that BJP might ask Anandiben Patel to step down as chief minister and projected Nitin Patel as a front-runner for the post, after both of them were in Delhi on Monday.
They also said the change of leadership in Gujarat was necessitated by to poor handling of the quota agitation by Anandiben, and strains caused by infighting in the party’s state unit.
Anandiben was made Chief Minister in May 2014, after Narendra Modi was elected as Prime Minister.
Asked about the purpose of her over one-and-a-half hour meeting with the spiritual guru, with whom recently RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat also had a meeting, Anandiben said she took his guidance for agriculture and education and would try to implement his suggestions in Gujarat.
In Ahmedabad, BJP’s Gujarat unit spokesperson also denied that a leadership change was on the card.
“We are preparing an elaborate programmes for celebration of two years rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Anandiben Patel in Gujarat. In the midst of this there are such baseless reports of change in leadership, which we totally deny,” state BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said.
Gujarat Health Minister Nitin Patel, whose name was doing the rounds to succeed Anandiben Patel, spoke in a similar vein.
Nitin Patel, who is the number two in the Anandiben government, said there is no move to change the Chief Minister. “Nothing of that sort is on,” he told PTI.
“He is our party chief. I do meet him often,” he said, brushing aside any significance to his meeting BJP chief Amit Shah in Delhi yesterday.
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