Her state roiled by the Patidar and Dalit protests and nervousness gripping the BJP in the run-up to the assembly elections next year, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel offered to resign Monday saying it is time “the younger generation gets an opportunity to work”.
In New Delhi, BJP president Amit Shah said: “She has requested the party to relieve her of the post. I will place the letter she has written to me before the (BJP) parliamentary board and it will take a decision. She has said that if a new person has to be brought in, then he should get time.”
“Gujarat elections have to take place in 2017 and there is also the Vibrant Gujarat summit in January, which has been a long tradition. She said if Vibrant Gujarat has to happen in January, then the new person should get the opportunity now.” He said the parliamentary board will decide on the new Chief Minister.
Shah said she had set a good precedent by resigning before she turns 75. He said Patel had twice offered to resign and had also broached the issue at the party’s national executive meeting in Allahabad in June and had written to him again Monday morning.
Posting her resignation letter on Facebook, Anandiben Patel said the BJP needs a fresh face in the state before the elections next year.
“Since some time, the party has introduced a tradition of senior leaders voluntarily stepping down from responsibilities when they complete 75 years of age. Which is exemplary and imitable, which is why the younger generation gets an opportunity to work. I will also complete 75 years this November.”
“However, at the end of 2017 is the Gujarat assembly election, and in January 2017 is the biennial Vibrant Gujarat summit which is critical for Gujarat. So, in order to give enough time to the newly appointed Chief Minister, I had requested senior leaders of the party to relieve me of this responsibility two months ago. Today, once again through this letter, I humbly request the party’s senior leadership to relieve me from the Chief Minister’s responsibility,” she said.
She thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, her predecessor in Gujarat, for the trust he reposed in her.
“In May 2014, Shri Narendrabhai and senior leaders gave me the responsibility of the first woman Chief Minister of Gujarat, which I think did all the women of Gujarat proud… After the chief ministership of Shri Narendrabhai for over 12 years, I was chosen to take his place, which is naturally as difficult as counting stars in the sky, but I am proud of the fact that nowhere have I lagged behind in maintaining the pace in taking Gujarat forward on the development course he charted.”
“I had the opportunity to take up several responsibilities as a worker of the Bharatiya Janata Party for the last 30 years. The party gave me critical assignments in the organisation as well as in the government, which I consider my good fortune.”
“From responsibility of the Mahila Morcha to the position of Chief Minister, the party leadership kept immense faith in me for which I am indebted. Under the leadership of expert organiser, visionary, committed and respectable Shri Narendra Modi, I got the opportunity to work, first in the party organisation and then in the government, because of which I was constantly nurtured.”
“For the last 18 years, having worked in different important departments of the Gujarat government, I have, through several creative changes, by easy implementation of new people-oriented schemes, constantly tried to bring in transparency through honest and result-oriented efforts.”
“I had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, inspired by its ideology, its principles and discipline, and continue to abide by it… I have had the opportunity to serve the dignified people of Gujarat and I have tried my level best to reach the benefits of services to the last man. I have got immense love, affection and inspiration to constantly work for the state as my family for which I express my commitment from the bottom of my heart and offer my obeisance to them,” she said.
Under her watch, the BJP fared poorly in the rural civic bodies polls in December 2015 and the opposition Congress gained
— ANI (@ANI_news) August 1, 2016
ground in the state after more than two decades.
The BJP image again took a knocking when the Patidar agitation for quota flared up and the state crackdown alienated the powerful Patel community.
Last month, the flogging of a Dalit family by gau rakshaks for skinning a dead cow in Una set off Dalit protests across the state. At a massive rally Sunday, Dalit leaders put the state BJP on notice, telling the community not to dispose dead cattle or clean sewers to “send a strong message” to the party and its government.
BJP sources said the intensification of the Dalit agitation became the “trigger” for Patel’s announcement. The Dalit protests have become a big worry for the party even in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. In Parliament, the BJP has been on the backfoot, under attack from the Opposition for allegedly protecting gau rakshaks behind the Una flogging.