Ganpat Vasava, forest, environment and tribal minister, will be the new Gujarat Assembly Speaker, triggering a cabinet reshuffle that Anandiben Patel government was expected to do post Diwali.
This will be the second stint for tribal leader Vasava, who represents Mangrol constituency in Surat, as a speaker. He was earlier speaker for two years from 2010 to 2012. Then replacing veteran BJP leader Ashok Bhatt following latter’s demise, Vasava was the first speaker to come from tribal community.
Speaker’s appointment was necessitated after Vajubhai Vala was appointed Karnataka governor recently by the Union Government.
Vasava, who will be formally elected on November 10 during the winter session of assembly, filed the form on behalf of the BJP on Friday. The cabinet minister, who was reportedly sulking, however, had given miss to luncheon hosted by the Chief Minister Anandiben Patel for the media at her residence. After Purshottam Solanki, Vasava is the second ministerk who was in the Narendra Modi government, but dropped in the Patel government. Solanki, MoS fisheries and Koli leader from Saurashtra, was dropped by Patel following corruption case against him.
Sources said that senior BJP functionary Bhikhu Dalsania and Chief Minister Patel on Thursday night had convinced the cabinet minister Vasava to step down. According to the sources, Patel was not quite pleased with functioning of forest and environment department. It is during his tenure, Gujarat lost case in Supreme Court against translocation of few Asiatic Lion to Madhya Pradesh in order to create a second home for the wild cats that are left in few number in their only home at Gir in Gujarat.
Win of senior BJP leader Vijay Rupani in Rajkot West last month coupled with induction of Vasava as Speaker will be soon now leading to ministry reshuffle. It has been expected also because leaders from Saurashtra, peninsula on western side that earlier used to dominate the party and government through its number of leaders, have been crying foul for equal representation. For, the Patel ministry at present has many key portfolios’ being held by leaders from North Gujarat, especially Mehsana district.
At present in 21-member ministry, from Chief Minister Anandiben Patel to health minister Nitin Patel and MoS urban development department Shanker Chaudhary, all come from North Gujarat.
Jaydarthsinh Parmar, MoS road and building, is one of the front runner to replace Vasava, as tribal Representative in the ministry. Though Rajput, Parmar represents tribal Halol and was inducted in the ministry by Patel in May. While still fresh he may not get the cabinet rank, Vasava’s portfolios might get distributed among other cabinet ministers. Former Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Rupani, though is a first time MLA, but may get cabinet berth given his seniority and experience in Saurashtra region.
Deputy speaker Mangu Patel is also a tribal leader. Sources says Patel ,who was in the Modi government forest minister, can also be taken back into ministry with tribal or forest department or any junior MLA from tribal seat might get the MoS rank for this departments under a senior minister.