Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Saturday asked the deputy chief minister of Gujarat, Nitin Patel, to quit BJP and join Congress with his 10 MLAs.
“If Gujarat Deputy CM Nitin Patel along with 10 MLAs is ready to leave BJP, then will talk to Congress to get him a good position. If BJP does not respect him, he should leave the party,” Hardik was quoted by ANI.
This was after Patel skipped office on Friday as reports emerged that the deputy chief minister was miffed at being given light portfolios. He was holding high-profile ministries of Finance, Petrochemicals, Urban Development and Urban Housing, Roads and Buildings, Capital Project, Narmada, and Kalpasar in the previous government.
Finance, Petrochemicals and Urban Development and Housing ministries have been taken away from him in the new regime. While the Finance and Petrochemicals porfolios have gone Saurabh Patel, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani himself have kept the responsibilities for Urban Development and Housing departments.
Saurabh, the son-of-law of industry doyen Dhirubhai Ambani’s elder brother Ramnik Ambani, was dropped by Rupani after he took control of the government replacing the then chief minister, Anandiben Patel.
Quoting sources, IANS reported that Rupani had a long time to decide his team because Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah were reportedly busy in finalising the name of the new Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister and he would not take a unilateral decision.
While the new 20-member two-tier Rupani Cabinet was sworn in on December 26 in the presence of a huge gathering, attended among others by Prime Minister Modi, Shah and chief ministers of all 18 BJP-ruled states as well as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, it took late Thursday night for the portfolios to be finalised and distributed.
Not only did Nitin Patel keep away from office most of Friday, Secretariat reports claimed that the veteran politician used his personal four-wheeler instead of the government vehicle and official escort.
The Deputy Chief Minister looked glum and lost even during the first joint press conference of the new Cabinet late on Thursday night and maintained an uncanny silence.