BJP opts for status quo with Vijay Rupani as CM, Nitin Patel Dy CM
The legislators unanimously elected Rupani as leader of the BJP’s legislature party, Jaitley told reporters. He said Patel was elected as deputy leader in the House
Though the BJP in Gujarat could not cross the double digit score in the just concluded elections to the Gujarat assembly, winning 99 seats against party president Amit Shah’s tall claim that the party would win 150 seats, the party today decided to continue to maintain status quo by giving Vijay Rupani and Nitin Patel a second term as the chief minister and deputy chief minister.
That Rupani and Patel would lead the BJP’s poll campaign as chief minister and deputy chief minister was trumpeted by the party leaders while mocking at the Opposition Congress party’s ‘inability’ to project any of the state leaders as their chief ministerial candidate. However, both Rupani and Patel maintained a low profile all throughout electioneering as both remained confined to their respective constituencies.
While Rupani won the Rajkot East assembly seat with a comfortable margin of 53,755 votes, Nitin Patel, contesting from Mehsana, managed to scrape through the victory post by a slender margin of 7,137 votes.
Rupani, a Jain, is considered close to BJP national president Amit Shah who made him the chief minister in place of Anandiben Patel removed unceremoniously in August 2016 reportedly because of her failure to control the pro-quota agitation by the affluent Patidar community. Though Nitin Patel too hailed from the Patidar community, he was not chosen to replace Anandiben. Instead Vijay Rupani was made the chief minister.
It was Nitin Patel who was tasked with holding peace talks with the leaders of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) spearheading the pro-quota stir. Instead of succeeding in pacifying the Patel agitators, Nitin Patel earned their wrath because of a series of police action in which as many as ten Patel youth were killed in firing.
With the 23-year-old convener of PAAS, Hardik Patel threatening to launch his pro-quota agitation with renewed vigour from January 1, the BJP government would be faced with the challenge of dealing with the discontent among the Patidar youth.
Hardik and other PAAS leaders have actively campaigned against the BJP in the recent assembly elections. As the BJP won a majority of the assembly seats from Surat, Ahmedabad and Rajkot cities where the Patel agitation was quite vigorous, PAAS leaders suspect the BJP meddled with the EVMs to rig the polls.