Ahmedabad, December 31: In the newly-formed Gujarat government a major crisis averted on Sunday afternoon, with BJP president Amit Shah stepping in to address the grievances of state Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. According to several reports, Patel was deeply unhappy with the portfolios he was given and Hardik Patel had been sending feelers to him. He took charge of his ministries on Sunday.
“I will go to Secretariat and take charge of the ministries today. I was assured that I will be given suitable departments,” Patel said to ANI after a phone call with BJP president Amit Shah.
The deputy of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani was upset after the important finance and urban development portfolios were taken away from him. Nitin Patel on Saturday claimed that his “fight is for prestige and not post. My respect and honour should be restored in the party.”
Hardik Patel suggested that the Deputy Chief Minister would be given departments of his choice if he quit the BJP with 10 legislators and joined the Congress, which is just 12 seats short of a majority in the 182-member state assembly.
After the elections, Vijay Rupani handed the finance portfolio to Saurabh Patel and kept the urban development – the other department Nitin Patel handled- with himself.
However, Nitin Patel was given road and building, health, Narmada, medical, education, Kalpsar and capital projects – a move, which Gujarat CM said, did not indicate any disrespect to the 61-year-old minister.
“Nitin Patel is our senior leader and will remain the number two. It is not true that the minister who has the finance portfolio, is the number two in the cabinet,” the Rupani said to media. But his remark had failed to satisfy his deputy.
Nitin Patel, a seven-time MLA, was given the post of Deputy Chief Minister in 2016 when Anandiben Patel was asked to step down as the Chief Minister of Gujarat following the huge quota stir spear-headed by Hardik Patel. His upgrade was also meant to signal that the Patel community would continue to get a good deal from the BJP.
On Saturday, Hardik Patel, who had sided with the Congress, said Nitin Patel could get a good deal from the opposition party, which won 80 of the state’s 182 seats in the state assembly elections. The BJP had won 99 seats.
“If Nitin Patel along with 10 MLAs is ready to leave BJP, then I will talk to Congress to get him a good position,” Hardik Patel said.