Narendra Modi’s rule as the chief minister of Gujarat is responsible for the state’s problems, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi alleged on Twitter on Tuesday, taking on the Prime Minister a day after incumbent Anandiben Patel offered to resign in the face of a string of protests.
Gandhi said the move to sacrifice ‘scapegoat’ Patel will not save the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state where elections are due next year.
CM Patel’s resignation offer on Monday was seen as a decision prompted by mounting pressure over her government’s handling of a several political protests.
Patel said in a Facebook post that she told the BJP leadership about her plan to step down two months ago. Patel, Gujarat’s first woman chief minister, succeeded Modi in May, 2014.
13 years of Modi rule, not 2 years of Anandiben are responsible for Gujarat burning. Sacrificing the scapegoat won't save the BJP— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) August 2, 2016
But her government’s handling of last year’s protests by Patidars, or Patels, drove a wedge between the BJP and one of its staunchest supporters. At least 11 people were killed in those demonstrations. The fallout reflected in the BJP’s poor performance in panchayat and municipal elections, as Patels, who account for 14% of the state’s population, distanced themselves from the party.
Gujarat is facing a fresh wave of protests over the thrashing of four Dalit youth – who were skinning a dead cow -- in Una by self-styled cow protectors.
Thousands of Dalit people have come out in protest against the incident on July 11, forcing the government on the back foot and shifting the spotlight back on festering caste discrimination across India.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party is looking to make an electoral foray into Gujarat, said Patel’s offer to resign was the “result of growing popularity” of his AAP.
“BJP is terribly scared,” Kejriwal tweeted soon after Patel made the announcement on Facebook. “The resignation is a victory of AAP’s fight against corruption in the state.”
Congress general secretary in-charge of Gujarat, Gurudas Kamat, said: “It was long overdue.”