Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel on Monday dropped a bombshell by requesting party leadership to resign through a Facebook post.
In her Facebook post, Patel said that she was turning 75 in November adding that she appreciated the new trend in the party where leaders over the age of 75 were voluntarily resigning.
There have been speculations over Anandiben Patel resigning because of growing anger against her government. Her daughter Anar Patel was embroiled in a series of alleged corruption.
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More recently, Dalits have been launching state-wide protests against her government after members from the right-wing groups had publicly thrashed four Dalit youth.
In a letter posted on her Facebook page, Patel, who took charge as Gujarat’s first woman chief minister has said that she had two months earlier sought to resign from the party to give “enough time to the new incumbent to prepare for important events like the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat summit”.
She said on the post, “Today once again I have sent a letter to the top brass of the party requesting I be allowed to step down as chief minister” Patel said.
She requested the party leadership to appoint her successor now so that the new incumbent will have enough time to plan and execute the Vibrant Gujarat conclave, held in January every year.
Under the leadership of Patel, who has been a minister in the BJP government since 1998 and CM from 2014, the BJP for the first time in the post-Narendra Modi era in Gujarat is facing a tough challenge from its opponents.
Patel, who will turn 75 on November 21, also said the BJP needed a fresh face in the state before the elections due next year.
“For the last some time there has been a tradition in the party that those who attain the age of 75, voluntarily retires from the post. I will attain the age of 75 in November,” the state’s first woman chief minister, who succeeded Narendra Modi on May 22, 2014, said in a Facebook post.
“Two months ago I had requested the party to relieve me from the post and today also through this letter, I request the party to relieve me of the post,” Patel said.
“I am asking the party to relieve me two months in advance as the new chief minister will require the time to work, when the state is going to face elections in 2017 and an important event like Vibrant Gujarat Summit to be held in January,” Patel said.
“It (the rule of 75) is a good thing and it will give a chance to young leaders to come up,” she added. Elections in the state are due in the later part of 2017. The unwritten convention in the party, set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in recent times has been that those attaining the age of 75 have to quit the post.
Patel had to faced some upsets as BJP recently fared badly in the rural civic bodies polls in December 2015 and the opposition Congress making gains at the cost of the saffron rival.
She also had to face the fierce Patel community quota agitation, one of the factors which contributed to BJP losing in rural local bodies polls, while retaining urban areas. Recently, the Dalit uprising after the Una trashing incident had also dented the image of party.
Gujarat goes to polls next year.
More to follow