Anandiben Patel, Gujarat Chief Minister
IN the wake of the BJP’s humiliating defeat in the recently held panchayat elections in Gujarat, where the most influential Patel community threw its weight behind the opposition Congress, the BJP leadership is reportedly mulling over whether Anandiben should be replaced as Chief Minister or not.
Party insiders add, it would be the right thing to replace Anandiben with some other more competent leader so that the BJP could retian power in Gujarat in the 2017 Assembly elections.
Reliable sources said on Monday (January 11) that Narendra Modi would want national BJP President Amit Shah to replace Anandiben as CM to ensure that the party bounces back to power in the Assembly polls due in 2017.
“It is only a BJP leader of the stature of Amit Shah who can ensure victory for the party in the 2017 Assembly polls in the face of the government facing unprecedented problems”, sources said.
Of course, PM Modi would also want his most trusted lieutenant Amit Shah to continue as national BJP chief for the second term. Shah’s tenure in this coveted position ends this month. But, Modi is reportedly lobbying hard in the Sangh Parivar for Shah’s extension in this post.
Shah has been facing a lot of criticism from within the RSS and its political wing BJP after the party’s defeat in the Delhi and Bihar Assembly polls. And the party’s reverses in the Panchayat elections in Gujarat has further infuriated the RSS and some senior party leaders. But, Modi who wields a tremendous clout within the RSS ranks is most likely to earn a second term for Shah as the national BJP chief.
The party is also learnt to be in dilemma as to whether the present Gujarat BJP President R C Faldu belonging to the Patel community should be replaced with a Patel to placate the otherwise angry Patidar community. A new State BJP chief will be elected either on January 16 or 17 as Faldu’s second term expires this month.
However, no Patel leader in the ruling BJP could effectively handle the Patidar agitation over the reservation issue.
Another view prevailing in the party is that since Patel leaders have miserably failed to tackle the situation arising out of the Patel stir, some competent leader from the Kshatriya community be asked to head the State BJP unit. For this, the names of party general secretary I K Jadeja and minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja are being forwarded by a section within the party.