When Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed over the reigns of Gujarat to Anandiben Patel before deciding to move to Delhi after the historic 2014 General Elections, people of the state hoped she would take forward the Gujarat development story started by her predecessor. However, her journey so far has been tumultuous. The state, which in the previous years was in news for development, has been in the news till now for many negative reasons. As the Opposition parties continue to grow stronger in Gujarat, it was expected that the BJP would ask her to tender resignation before the next Assembly election in the state, as the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo can’t afford to lose Gujarat. Here are five reasons that may have prompted her to quit today.
One of the most prominent reasons behind Anandiben’s decision to quit could be the recent controversy in which four Dalits were stripped and flogged over skinning of dead cows in Una village of Gir Somnath district on July 11. The incident sparked protests all over the country, leading to death of two people including a cop, while a Dalit man committed suicide. In the view of UP Assembly elections early next year, Una incident was proving too costly for BJP. Anandiben may have taken the cue, or secretly asked by the top leaders to step down.
Anandiben had inherited an almost peaceful state but within a year she proved to be political disaster for the BJP in the state. She failed to properly manage the Patidar-Patel agitation that rocked Gujarat last year. The massive agitation led by Hardik Patel cost loss of several lives as well as property and left the BJP red-faced.
The BJP-led NDA government at the Centre has an unwritten rule to ask politicians, who have crossed 75 years of age, to retire. This was the justification given to sideline veterans like L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi. And this is one of the reasons Anandiben (born in 1941) cited while addressing media today.
Under Anandiben Patel, BJP could not do well in the December 2015 local body elections in the state. For the first time in almost 25 years, Opposition Congress managed to win majority of seats. As the state goes to polls again next year, BJP would need another face to quick fix its reputation.
While addressing the media, Anandiben accepted her failure on the development front also. Anandiben said she couldn’t take forward Gujarat on the path of development started by Modi.