No Amit Shah, Gujarat CM to be picked from legislators: BJP

The BJP parliamentary board on Wednesday decided that party president Amit Shah will not be the successor of Anandiben Patel, who resigned as Chief Minister of Gujarat after the top party body accepted her offer to step down.

The party leadership, however, didn’t clear the air on the next Chief Minister but said Anandiben’s successor will be picked from among the existing MLAs.

The names doing the round for the post are of state BJP Chief Vijay Rupani, state minister Nitin Patel, assembly speaker Ganpat Vasava and state general secretary Bhiku Bhai Dalsania.

The legislator party meeting to elect the new Chief Minister will now take place on Friday or Saturday in Gandhinagar.

Amit Shah, who is also a legislator, will attend the meeting of the legislature party.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and party General Secretary Saroj Pandey will be present at the meeting as central observers.

Earlier, the party announced it would convene the legislative party meet on Thursday but due to pre-engagement of Gadkari, the meeting has been extended by a day or two.

BJP Gujarat in-charge Dinesh Sharma told reporters in Gandhinagar that Anandiben’s successor would be decided at a meeting of the BJP Legislature Party after national president Amit Shah flies down there to oversee the transition.

He said the announcement of the new Chief Minister could come around 3 p.m. on Friday.

Ruling out the possibility of Shah being considered as successor of Anandiben Patel, Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters after the Parliamentary party meeting that there was no such consultation in the party.

“He (Amit Shah) is the party’s national president and under his leadership the party has reached great heights. The party needs his leadership. The Chief Minister will be from the existing legislators,” said Naidu.

“He (Amit Shah) will chair the meeting of legislature party and hold consultation with the stakeholders to decide on the next Chief Minister of Gujarat,” Naidu said.

The parliamentary board accepted the resignation of Anandiben Patel as the Chief Minister and later in the evening she tendered her resignation to Governor O.P. Kohli.

She will be acting Chief Minister till her successor is elected.

“The party has accepted her resignation. She offered to resign as she was nearing 75. She has set an example for lakhs of party workers and became an inspiration for many in the country by doing this,” Naidu said.

The meeting, held at 7, Race Course, was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Naidu also said that the party appreciated the “satisfactory” work done by Anandiben Patel as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

“She has been a minister in Gujarat government for 18 years. She headed the government as Chief Minister in satisfactory manner. The party appreciates the good work done by her for the development of the state,” he added.

Patel, the first woman Chief Minister of Gujarat, offered to quit keeping in mind the BJP’s tradition of leaders vacating their post as they turn 75.