In an unexpected move, the chief minister of Gujarat, Mr Vijay Rupani has resigned ahead of the election in the state next year.
“… has been a five-year journey for the development of Gujarat… under the guidance of PM Modi. Now, to further develop the state, with new energy and power, I have decided to resign as Chief Minister,” Mr Rupani was quoted by news agency ANI.
“It is well known the BJP, as a party, keeps changing as per requirements… it is a speciality of our party that every worker delivers his/her assigned job to the fullest, and I too will continue to work for the party with the same energy,” he added.
Along with Mr Rupani, the whole cabinet also resigned. It leaves the state with 3 options. Appoint a successor (and new cabinet), allow the state to come under President’s Rule or have an Assembly election much earlier than scheduled.
Sources have said that, at this point, no decision has been taken on early polls and that a change of guard – a new Chief Minister – is likely to be the party’s strategy.
Sources also said Mansukh Mandaviya, who was just sworn in as the Union Health Minister in July, and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel are possible replacements.
Some reports have indicated Mr Mandaviya, who was born in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar and is a Rajya Sabha MP from the state, has already reached Mr Rupani’s residence.
Mr Rupani resigned, sources further said, after the party’s central leadership expressed dissatisfaction with his performance; sources have called this a “course correction” by a BJP eager to change things around if it feels unsure in its state leadership.
The strategy, it seems, is simple – ‘if there is resentment against state leadership, sort it out now’.