BJP may not fight Gujarat polls under Anandiben

New Delhi : BJP President Amit Shah won’t return to Gujarat and the party is unlikely to fight the next assembly polls under Chief Minister Anandiben Patel’s leadership, informed sources said on Wednesday.

A senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader said on the condition of anonymity that Shah — a former state home minister — had no intention of going back to Gujarat as he wished to focus on national politics.

Support TwoCircles

The source, however, indicated it was not clear who would lead the party in the 2017 assembly elections in Gujarat.

“A leader will be decided before the elections,” the source said.

Speculation on Anandiben Patel’s removal had gained momentum last month after she called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

The buzz was that Anandiben Patel, the first woman chief minister of Gujarat, might be sent to Punjab or Haryana as governor and Nitin Patel, the most senior cabinet minister in the state, will succeed her.

A confidante of Modi for nearly three decades, Anandiben was handpicked by him as Chief Minister when he became the Prime Minister in May 2014.

Anandiben Patel’s popularity, however, dimmed quickly. She was widely accused of mishandling the prolonged Patidar agitation for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.

This in part led to the BJP’s setback in the November-December local body elections.

The Gujarat chief minister also faced flak for an alleged land scam involving a firm in which her daughter Anar Patel is a partner. The state government allegedly allotted land to it at throwaway prices.