Gujarat govt orders inquiry by cyber cell into rumours of CM Rupani’s resignation
The Gujarat government on Saturday ordered an inquiry by the cyber cell of state police following rumours of chief minister Vijay Rupani’s “impending resignation” circulating on social media for the last couple of weeks.
The probe is aimed at nabbing those trying to create “instability” in the state, government officials said. For nearly two weeks, social media in Gujarat has been abuzz with rumours of the likelihood of Rupani stepping down.
The home department ordered an inquiry two days after Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel in Rajkot claimed that Rupani has resigned and a Patel or a Kshatriya leader would replace him.
“The inquiry by cyber cell has been ordered against all the messages that through religious content or fiction are trying to destabilise the state. This also includes CM’s resignation rumours and other such messages like reading the Delhi visit of deputy CM Nitin Patel to an event as some sign of political changes,” said minister of state for home Pradipsinh Jadeja.
Jadeja, however, declined to comment if any action would be taken against Hardik, who had openly claimed the change of guard within 10 days. Hardik’s statement also evoked a response from Rupani himself, who called the assertion baseless.
The political speculation started a fortnight ago after a meeting of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was held at its Gandhinagar headquarters to begin preparations for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The fact that Rupani was not included in the election committee, but given responsibility of overseeing the preparations, was one of the reasons for the rumours doing the rounds.
Soon, speculation started via Facebook and Whatsapp messages that the BJP was likely to replace Rupani with either of it central ministers from Gujarat, Purshottam Rupala or Mansukh Mandaviya — both Patidars — to quell the Patidar agitation led by Hardik Patel before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Some rumours have also floated the names of Pradipsinh Jadeja and BJP’s organisational secretary Bhikhu Dalsania as probable CM candidates.
Rupani took over as CM in 2016 when he replaced Anandiben Patel in the aftermath of the Patidar agitation for reservation in government jobs and college admissions for Patels and the Dalits’ protest following the Una flogging incident. The party, however, retained Rupani as CM after winning the 2017 assembly elections.