Against the backdrop of growing Dalit protests and the dormant Patidar resentment, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel resigned on Monday, though she has cited her age as the reason.
She posted her resignation letter on Facebook, which said, “Since some time, the party has introduced a tradition of senior leaders voluntarily stepping down from responsibilities when they complete 75 years of age. Which is exemplary and imitable, which is why the younger generation gets an opportunity to work. I will also complete 75 years this November.”
In New Delhi, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah said that he would place her letter before the party’s parliamentary board which “will take the final decision.”
In her post, Patel wrote that at the end of 2017 is the Gujarat Assembly election, and in January 2017 is the biennial Vibrant Gujarat summit which is critical for Gujarat. “So, in order to give enough time to the newly appointed Chief Minister, I had requested senior leaders of the party to relieve me of this responsibility two months ago. Today, once again through this letter, I humbly request the party’s senior leadership to relieve me from the Chief Minister’s responsibility.”
She expressed her gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, her predecessor in Gujarat: “In May 2014, Shri Narendrabhai and senior leaders gave me the responsibility of the first woman Chief Minister of Gujarat, which I think did all the women of Gujarat proud… after the chief ministership of Shri Narendrabhai for over 12 years, I was chosen to take his place, which is naturally as difficult as counting stars in the sky. But I am proud of the fact that nowhere have I lagged behind in maintaining the pace of taking Gujarat forward on the course of development he charted.”
She said that she had the opportunity to take up several responsibilities as a worker of the Bharatiya Janata Party for the last 30 years. “The party gave me critical assignments in the organization as well as in the government, which I consider my good fortune.”
Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party boss Arvind Kejriwal called Patel’s resignation as his party’s “victory in its fight against corruption.” The BJP, he said, is scared of the AAP’s rising popularity.