Ahmedabad, Nov 16 (UNI) Quashing all rumours, former chief minister Keshubhai Patel's son Bharat has said he will not contest the Gujarat assembly elections as a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate.
''I thank the party (BJP) for offering me candidature to contest the elections. But, following in the footsteps of my father, I have decided not to accept it. However, I will continue to work for the party as its member,'' Bharat Patel said in a press statement here today.
''I am refusing to contest the election as a BJP candidate since, like my father, I too think the party has strayed from its basic ideology and commitment to work for the common man,'' he said.
Bharat, according to party sources, was offered the deputy chief minister's post if the BJP was voted back to power.
Bharat's refusal to contest the elections is a setback for the ruling BJP. Had Bharat accepted the party offer, the long-standing animosity between Keshubhai and Narendra Modi could have ended. As of now, Keshubhai has attended some of the conventions organised by Mr Modi's detractors and has even urged people to vote against Mr Modi.
Keshubhai has a strong hold among Patels in Saurasthra. He has made it clear to the party bosses that he would not leave the party but would not work for it either.