In a move that has led to political speculations cutting across party lines, Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel has asked party’s senior leadership to “relieve her” from her current responsibilities.
BJP president Amit Shah said that he had received Patel’s resignation and that the party’s Parliamentary Board would decide on it.
The letter was put up on Patel’s Facebook page around 5 pm on Monday. Her office has also released videos in Hindi and Gujarati in which she was seen reading out what has been written on her FB page.
Patel, who was handpicked by Narendra Modi as his successor in Gujarat when he became the Prime Minister, turns 75 in November, this year.
The first woman chief minister of Gujarat, Patel, while asking to be relieved of her duty, has said that the new person should get time ahead of Vibrant Gujarat Summit of 2017 and later assembly elections in the same year.
Patel began with placing on record that in the 30 years with the BJP she had got an opportunity of serving on various positions and for that she considered herself lucky.
State BJP president Vijay Rupani said that they respected Patel and that the fact that she had put up this on her Facebook page meant that she had taken the decision. “She has set a trend for which we should feel proud about,” he added.
Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal reacted on twitter saying that Patel's resignation was a result of AAP’s increasing popularity in Gujarat. “The BJP is scared in Gujarat,” he said.
Patel’s request came few days after the state has been witnessing protests from Dalits following public flogging of four Dalits on the charges of skinning a dead cow. The BJP government has been held responsible for not being able to handle the Dalit uprising in the state.
Patel's image had taken a beating in the last one year. Her government was also accused of not handling the Patidar agitation properly following which the BJP had faced reverses in local civic elections.
There were also allegations that the state government had given benefit to a company by giving away land at a throwaway price near Gir. The company was headed by chief minister's daughter Aanar Patel’s partner.