Anandiben Patel was handpicked by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself and on Monday the beleaguered Gujarat Chief Minister offered her resignation. Anandiben not only offered her resignation but also asked the BJP government to elect a new Chief Minister for Gujarat before she completes her 75 years on 21 November 2016.

Her resignation did not come as a surprise but by removing herself from the position she pre-empted any chance to remove her. In 2017, there are Assembly elections and as for now, BJP’s long dominance in Gujarat is appearing to be under strain.

The Dalits of Gujarat recently, risen a revolt against the crimes on members of their community and the Patels have also protested against Anandiben’s government in last few months.

Anandiben was the Gujarat’s first woman Chief Minister and on her Facebook, she posted, “There has been a tradition in the party that those who attain the age of 75 voluntarily retire from the post. I will attain the age of 75 in November.”

She also stated that she had requested the Government to relieve her from the post Two months ago and today through her letter she requests the party again to relieve her.

She further clarifies why she resigned two months before she turns 75. She said that she did it two months before because the newly elected member will require time to settle in, especially when Gujarat is going to face elections in 2017 and Vibrant Gujarat Summit is to be held in January next year.

The sources confirmed that the decision of removing Anandiben from her post was taken earlier by PM Modi. Last month at a meeting held in New Delhi on 17 July, the decision was made in the presence of Mr Modi with BJP chief Amit Shah. Anandiben already knew about this decision when she offered her resignation.

The BJP legislature party will be called for a meeting so that party’s parliamentary board can choose a replacement. After the election of the new Chief Minister, a meeting will be called and the name of the elected person will be formally announced.

Anandiben was an efficient administrator but she lacked  political shrewdness, she faced infighting with party leaders and many of them did everything to destabilise and dislodge her as they never accepted her as authority.

Few senior leaders of BJP were angry as they never liked the way they were overlooked when she was made a Chief Minister. Two months back Anandinben completed her two years in the office and the rumours spread that she was going to be eliminated.

Anandiben’s image was demolished by using the media.

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2 August 2016
Avni S. Singh

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