The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contemplating replacing Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel to fight a sense of anti-incumbency existing in the state which goes to the polls in 2017, reported NDTV. The 74-year-old Patel was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's handpicked successor to occupy the post in 2014.
Apart from BJP's stated move to infuse young blood into its ministerial portfolios, a reason for her replacement could be that Patel is looked upon as a non-performer among the party's state cadre. The handling of the Patel Agitation for reservation controversy (dubbed the Patidar movement) by the chief minister, it is said, was ineffective and led to infighting among the state leaders. The dilution of vote base could reflect badly in the Assembly Elections next year in BJP's bastion state, said media reports.
To retain the state, both Modi and BJP's national president, Amit Shah, have put their heads together and will now seek a new chief minister, NDTV reported.
The Economic Times reported that Patel had been given three months to resolve the Patidar agitation or quit. The resultant feeling of failure was palpable with opposition Congress taking control in 23 out of the 31 district panchayats and 113 out of the 193 taluka panchayats from the BJP in the recently-concluded local bodies' elections.
An internal party report, prepared by Modi's aide Om Mathur, sought for improvement in communication and coordination between the state government and BJP's top executives. It also mooted a change in both the government and the party's structure in the state, according to NDTV.
The recent 10 percent allocation of reservation to the economically backward (those earning less than Rs.6 lakh a year) was the first of the follow-up acts for damage control after the flaring up of the Patel reservation issue, the report noted.