Raising anti-Modi pitch ahead of December assembly polls, BJP’s first CM in Gujarat Keshubhai Patel announced his resignation from the party and the formation of “real BJP” on Saturday.
Former Union minister Kashiram Rana also resigned from the party.
Patel, who brought the BJP to power for the first time in 1995, would launch his own political outfit to take on chief minister Narendra Modi in December. Modi had dethroned Patel in 2001.
“We will form the real BJP in Gujarat. Under Modi, there is no BJP in the state,” Patel said.
Hitting out at his bete noire Modi, Patel said Modi had taken away the BJP from the principles it had been founded upon. “This party has become a one-man party.”
“Now, we will fight to defeat Modi, whose government works only for a handful of industrialists while pushing the middleclass and poor people — tribals and dalits — to the fringes,” said Patel.
In New Delhi, the BJP reacted with caution. “He is a senior leader of the party. The party president is in touch with him. The party will request him that in the present situation and in view of the interest of the party and nation he should change his decision,” said national spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
Patel was once an icon of the dominant Patel community, but is no longer seen to be as powerful. In 2007 too, there were possibilities of Patel community discontent working against Modi, but the latter romped home in the state polls. This time, Patel and Rana — possibly alongside Gordhan Zadafia of the Mahagujrat Janata Party — are likely to try their level-best to ensure Modi’s defeat.