AHMEDABAD: Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel dismissed speculation that she will be replaced, insisting that neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor BJP president Amit Shah have ever given her such a hint.
The state’s first woman chief minister, who completed two years in office on May 22, told HT on Sunday that any such talk is “rumour”. “This is definitely a work of rumourmongers. But I do not know from where all these are coming,” Patel said.
She assumed office after Modi stepped down as CM to become the PM in 2014. But following a violent stir for quota in education and jobs by the Patel community and an unimpressive showing in civic and rural polls, Patel’s continuation in office has become a subject of intense speculation.
Gujarat, which is the home state of Modi and Shah, will elect a new assembly in 2017-end and media reports said the BJP leadership was mulling a change at the helm of the state government.
“Did Prime Minister Narendra Modi say so? Did party president Amit Shah announce this? Or for that matter, did my state BJP president (Vijay Rupani) mention any such thing? I do not believe in it until they say so. They are mere rumours,” she said.
State capital Gandhinagar has been rife with gossip that Patel and Shah were not in good terms.
The rumours got wind after the state BJP chief, also a minister, announced a 10% job quota for economically backward classes instead of the chief minister.
But Patel said such gossip has been around for long. “What is the problem if the party makes the announcement? I was present there (party headquarters in Gandhinagar) when the announcement was made. Though it is for the government to implement (the decision), but it was a policy decision. That is why the party chose to take the matter in its own hand,” she said.
The CM defended the police action against the Patel demonstrators, though many have accused the administration of being high-handed during the protests that claimed nine lives. “They (Patels) were angry with one thing, police beat us, police beat us. But did we have a choice? What else can police do when there is a mob on the rampage?”
She said Modi as PM has been of immense help. “It’s not only Gujarat but other states have also benefited under the NDA rule.”