Ahmedabad: Former Gujarat PM Anandiben Patel said he did not want to challenge upcoming National Assembly polls and informed BJP President Amit Shah of his decision in a letter.
The letter was written on October 4, but published Tuesday. Patel’s letter to Shah arrives at a time when the BJP is forming three-member groups for each constituency constituency in the state to select party candidates for Assembly polls later this year.
Some members of the party would have suggested that Patel (75), a member of BJP’s parliament, sits in his current district of Ghatlodiya in the district of Ahmedabad. A section of the BJP was asked to declare the veteran politician the main ministerial side of the party in Gujarat, which witnessed agitation of quotas by the Patel community.
A tweet by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, urging the party to make Patel the main ministerial face of Gujarat, led to speculation that the former chief minister was once again in the race for the major majority. Patel, however, cited his age as the reason for not disputing the polls.
“When I resigned as Prime Minister of Gujarat, I had done so in accordance with the rule of the party that no more than 75 should occupy any post. Today, too, under the same rule, I would like to say that I do not want to challenge the upcoming Assembly “he wrote to Shah.
Patel also told the party leader that he was ready to fulfill all the duties entrusted to him by the party in connection with the upcoming elections. In the letter, she expressed her gratitude to the party for making her the first woman head minister of Gujarat. Patel, considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was named chief minister of Gujarat after his move to New Delhi in May 2014.
However, his handling of the agitation of the Patidar quotas and the episode of Dalit’s atrocities in Una did not fit well with the leadership of the BJP. Patel resigned his position in August 2016 and was replaced by Vijay Rupani. When contacted, BJP spokesman Bharat Pandya said it was up to the party leadership to make a decision on Patel’s request.