Amidst speculation of his resignation, Mr. Patel, who is yet to resume charge, broke his silence. "I have informed the party high command about my feelings and even spoken to Amitbhai (Shah)". Therefore it nearly makes it clear why twice, Rupani was chosen over Nitin Patel. "Nitinbhai is not an ordinary minister", he added.
For two days ever since he has been stripped of the Finance, Urban Development and Petrochemicals ministries, which he held in the previous government, in the new Rupani cabinet, Patel has not taken charge and remains indoors at his Ahmedabad residence. He was given Health and Road and Building departments.
While the Finance and Petrochemicals portfolios have this time been allotted to Saurabh Patel, who was dropped by Rupani when he took over the reins a year ago, the Urban Development portfolio has been retained by Rupani himself. On Saturday evening, when Mirror approached CM Vijay Rupani who was in Ahmedabad to inaugurate a flower show, he refused to comment on the issue.
Trying to take advantage of the BJP dispute, Hardik Patel suggested that Nitin Patel quit the BJP with 10 MLAs and "join the Congress". If BJP does not respect him, he should leave the party, Hardik said on Saturday.
The BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly. Congress, on the other hand, secured 77 seats, its highest tally in the past two decades in Gujarat.
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Patel said he would wait and watch to see how the situation unfolded and would reveal everything at the right time.
"It is the BJP's policy to disregard its senior leaders and sideline them once they find them to be of no use".
A source in the BJP said Nitin Patel had conveyed his displeasure to the BJP president Amit Shah over the departments allotted to him. At that time, Rupani had said: "It is not true that the minister who has finance portfolio is number two in the cabinet. We will work together for the betterment of the state". The Congress, however, distanced itslef from the invite calling the political drama in Guj the BJP's "internal matter".
Besides Hardik, senior Congress leader Virji Thummar, who was elected to the state Assembly from Amreli, offered Congress support from outside if Nitin was prepared to break away from the BJP with his supporters and form a ministry in the state. "Today I met him with supporters from Mehsana, and we have given a call for Mehsana bandh on January 1 in his support", Lalji Patel told reporters.
Nitin Patel was also in the race when Anandiben Patel stepped down from the post, it was all finalized that he would be the next Chief Minister of Gujarat, but at the last moment plans were changed and Vijay Rupani was announced as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Not only did Nitin Patel keep away from office most of Friday, Secretariat reports claimed that the veteran politician used his personal four-wheeler instead of the government vehicle and official escort.