According to a report published in Anandabazar Patrika on Thursday, Modi himself has taken up the task of finding his successor. Sources in his party said that three persons are in the running to become the chief minister of Gujarat and they are Anandiben Patel, Nitinbhai and Sourabh Patel. All three Patels are members of Modi's state cabinet. Assembly speaker Vajubhai Vala also wanted to become the chief minister of the state but Modi preferred to make him the speaker instead, the report said.
Modi is reportedly trying to bring back Keshubhai Patel to BJP
Of these three, Anandiben Patel, 71, is the most preferred candidate, according to BJP sources. She is in charge of a number of government departments and also Ahmedabad city and district. Nitinbhai Patel, who is in charge of finance, medical education and health and family welfare departments and Saurabh Patel, who is energy & petrochemicals, mines & minerals, cottage industry, tourism, civil aviation and several other departments are not much behind though.
It may be mentioned here that Modi's close aide Amit Shah, who is in the charge of Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha polls next year, does not share a good relation with Anandiben Patel.
According to the ABP report, Modi is also trying to bring back dissenting leaders who have left the BJP. They include former chief minister of Gujarat Keshubhai Patel who had quit the party before the Gujarat assembly polls last year to form his own Gujarat Parivartan Party although it could not win more than two seats in the elections. Modi, however, went to the veteran leader soon after his victory in the election to seek his blessing and also met him recently along with party patriarch L K Advani.
The BJP may also make Bharat Patel, Keshubhai's son, from either Rajkot or Junagarh Lok Sabha seats, the report said. By ensuring Keshubhai's return to BJP, Modi is eyeing the Patel votebank as a step towards winning all 26 Lok Sabha seats for his party in the big fight next year.