Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel refuted on Tuesday media reports which suggested that BJP is mulling to remove her and bring in another party leader at the helm of affairs in the state.
“Nothing like that is on,” Anandiben told reporters at Indore where she had gone to participate in the ongoing Simhastha Kumbh at Ujjain and meet spiritual guru Bhaiyu Maharaj.
Patel blamed media for linking her and state health minister Nitin Patel’s visit to Delhi, suggesting that a change of leadership in Gujarat was imminent.
“You (media) had linked two different visits to Delhi to come to this conclusion. I had gone to Delhi for the meeting related to water crisis and Nitinbhai had gone to Delhi on the NEET issue,” Patel said.
Asked whether the BJP’s political base has suffered because of Patel quota agitation, she said, “At present there is no Patel agitation going on in the state. This protest is completely over now.”
Speculations are rife in a section of media about a possible change of leadership in Gujarat ahead of the 2017 elections.
The reports said that BJP might ask Anandiben Patel to step down and project Nitin Patel as a front-runner for the post.
Reports suggested that the change of leadership in Gujarat was necessitated by poor handling of the quota agitation by Anandiben, and strains caused by infighting in the party’s state unit.
Anandiben was made chief minister in May 2014, after Narendra Modi was elected as Prime Minister.
Asked about the purpose of her over one-and-a-half hour meeting with the spiritual guru, with whom recently RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat also had a meeting, Anandiben said she took his guidance for agriculture and education and would try to implement his suggestions in Gujarat.
In Ahmedabad, BJP’s Gujarat unit spokesperson also denied that a leadership change was on the card.