As Gujarat Deputy CM sulks over allocation of portfolios, Patidar leaders rally behind him

first_imgWithin days of its taking over, cracks have appeared in the new government in Gujarat as Deputy Chief Minister and prominent Patidar leader Nitin Patel is sulking over the issue of portfolio allocation which saw three powerful departments — finance, petrochemicals and urban development — being taken away from him.Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel said, “Nitinbhai should break from the BJP with his MLAs and we will talk to the Congress to support him.”Earlier, Mr. Hardik asked the Deputy Chief Minister to join his stir ”to fight for justice” to the Patidar community. “Nitinbhai can join in our fight for justice. After all, he got only lollipops in the BJP,” the 24-year-old Mr. Hardik said in Botad, where he is holding a Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) meeting to deliberate and discuss their future strategy. Mr. Hardik is likely to meet Mr. Nitin by Sunday.Many other community leaders are pouring in to meet Mr Nitin.Sardar Patel Group (SPG) chief Lalji Patel announced that Mehsana (Mr. Nitin’s constituency and the epicentre of the Patidar agitation) would remain shut on January 1 to protest against ”injustice” to Mr. Nitin. Mr. Lalji met Mr. Nitin on Saturday.The SPG and PAAS jointly launched the quota agitation in 2015.Nitin skips officeOn Friday, Mr. Nitin did not turn up to his office and did not even make any public appearance anywhere. Sources in the government said he had made his displeasure known to the central leadership of the BJP on being given “light weight portfolios” despite being the Deputy Chief Minister.In the new government, he has got Roads and Buildings, Narmada, Health, Medical Education and Capital Projects.According to party insiders, the central leadership is sending a senior leader to mediate and end the crisis.Differences with CM Vijay RupaniDifferences between Mr. Nitin and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani cropped up on Thursday before the first Cabinet meeting in which Ministers were supposed to be distributed the departments. Due to the differences, the meeting, scheduled to ‪start at 5 p.m.,‬ commenced ‪only at 9 p.m.‬ after a marathon meeting at the Chief Minister’s residence, where  Mr. Rupani, Mr. Nitin and State party president Jitu Vaghani assigned portfolios to Ministers after consultations with the party brass in New Delhi.“Nitinbhai is upset with not getting the Finance Department,” a senior party leader said, adding, “despite being Deputy Chief Minister, he is not dealing with any important portfolios like Home, General Administration, Industries, Mines and Minerals, Finance, Urban Development or Revenue.”After the Cabinet meeting, Mr. Rupani, Mr. Nitin and Mr. Vaghani held a press conference in which Mr. Rupani ruled out any differences. Mr. Nitin, however, did not talk.“There were no differences on anything and the government will utilise Nitinbhai’s experiences and expertise,” Mr. Rupani said as Mr. Nitin looked on with a sullen face.In the new government, Mr. Rupani has kept Home, General Administration, Industries, Mines and Minerals, Urban Development and Petrochemicals with himself.Ex-Minister rehabilitatedSaurabh Patel, who was dropped from the Cabinet when Mr. Rupani took over as Chief Minister in 2016 after a series of allegations of irregularities and nepotism against him surfaced, has been rehabilitated now. He has been given Finance and Energy.last_img

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