Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel offers to resign; BJP Parl Board to decide on replacement

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Ahmedabad, August 1: Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Monday, Aug 1 requested the party leadership to relieve her from the post.

Reports of resignation comes in the wake of recent incident of dalits backlash in Una.

Anandiben Patel

In her official Facebook post, the chief minister wrote that she had requested the party leadership to relieve her of the CM's post as she was reaching 75 years' age. She added that she has resent the request on Monday.

"This will also give the new leadership time to prepare for the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January 2017," she wrote.

"I got the opportunity to serve the people of Gujarat and I have done that to the best of my abilities. I have loved this state like my own family and the people have reciprocated that feeling. For this, I offer my heartfelt gratitude to the people of Gujarat," she wrote.

BJP President Amit Shah said the party's Parliamentary Board will decide on the replacement for Patel, who will turn 75 on November 21 and is the first woman chief minister of Gujarat.

"She has requested the party to relieve her of her post. I will place the letter she has written to me before the Parliamentary Board and it will take a decision," Shah said in Delhi.

In May this year, it was reported that the BJP was considering a replacement of Anandiben, as part of the strategy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP state president Amit Shah ahead of the state Assembly elections scheduled next year end.

[Will BJP replace Anandiben Patel before Gujarat polls 2017?]

Sources also indicated that Anandiben could be made the governor of any state while Nitinbhai Patel, an important minister in the state who holds a number of key portfolios, is among the front-runners to replace the former.

Another reason behind Anandiben's resignation can be that she will cross the age bar of 75 years on November 21 this year.

"This question about Patel, when she turns 75 is on everybody's mind," a BJP leader had earlier said on the condition of anonymity.

"Speculations are on if she will be asked to quit or will she be an exception and allowed to continue for one more year till 2017 Assembly polls," another leader, who also refused to be named had said.

Anandiben Patel had replaced Modi in May 2014 after the latter went on to become the prime minister of the country.

Under the leadership of Patel, who has been a minister in the BJP government since 1998 and CM from 2014, the BJP for the first time in the post-Narendra Modi era in Gujarat is facing a tough challenge from its opponents.

Patel had to face defeat as BJP recently fared badly in the rural civic bodies polls in December 2015. This was considered as a major loss for her as opposition Congress was able to win polls after almost 25 years in the state.

She also had to face the fierce Patel community quota agitation, one of the factors which contributed to BJP losing in rural local bodies polls, while retaining urban areas.

Opposition Congress has also leveled allegations of corruption against her.

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