Embattled Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Monday offered to resign from the post, citing that she is more than 75 years of age. The BJP central leadership has apparently received her resignation. "She has cited age reasons. A decision on the resignation and the new chief minister will be taken by the BJP Parliamentary Board," said BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday.
Patel earlier in the day offered to step down in Facebook post. Her resignation comes amid recent protests by Dalits over alleged atrocities by Gau Rakshak (cow protection) activists against them and accusations that the state government failed to protest Dalits' interests.
It may be noted that the BJP has a policy wherein it usually bars politicians aged more than 75 to hold any kind of office. It may also be noted that the BJP central leadership has had differences with Patel and her style of functioning, and some time back it was reportedly mulling replacing her with BJP chief Amit Shah.
However, Patel seemed to have gotten there first. In a post on her official Facebook account, she said: "I am grateful towards BJP for the amount of responsibilities I have been trusted with over time." She also said the stint as chief minister gave her the opportunity to work beyond what a BJP activist would do.
She said in the post: "Senior BJP leaders have initiated a great tradition of voluntary retirement after they turn 75, which also paves the way for the next generation." This was how senior BJP leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi and LK Advani were removed from key positions within the party when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power.
Many saw it as Modi's way of clearing the path for him by removing anyone else his detractors within the party could rally around. However, the tradition has continued since, with Najma Heptulla resigning as a Union minister in the latest Cabinet reshuffle at the Centre.
Pointing out he would turn 75 in November, she offered to resign right away as quitting then would mean the new chief minister who would come then have only two months before the Gujarat Assembly elections of 2017. It would also be when the Vibrant Gujarat Summit would come up.