By:- Bhavya Khatri
With the media abuzz with rumours of a rift within the Gujarat unit of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Patidar Anamat Aandolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel has invited deputy chief minister Nitin Patel to leave the government and join hands with him.
“Hardik said he would speak with the Congress and get Nitin a good position”.
Speaking to ANI in Gujarat’s Sarangpur, Hardik said, “If Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitin Patel along with 10 MLAs is ready to leave BJP, then I will talk to Congress and get him a good position.”
This came after reports claimed that Nitin is unhappy with key portfolios being taken away from him in the new state cabinet.
Nitin is reportedly miffed at being given “light-weight” portfolios by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. He was absent from his office even as all the newly-anointed cabinet colleagues took charge of their respective ministries.
In the previous Vijay Rupani government, Nitin Patel was holding hefty departments like Finance, Petrochemicals, Urban Development and Urban Housing, Roads and Buildings, Capital Project, Narmada, and Kalpasar.
But of these, Finance, Petrochemicals and Urban Development and Housing were taken away from him this time, reported IANS.
Finance and Petrochemicals have been given to Saurabh Patel, who was curiously dropped when Rupani took over the reins for the first time in August 2016, while the chief minister has retained the Urban Development and Housing beat for himself.
Hardik said that if BJP “does not respect him (Nitin Patel), he should leave the party”.
According to IANS, not only did Nitin keep away from the office for most of Friday, Secretariat reports also claimed that the veteran politician used his personal four-wheeler instead of the government vehicle and official escort.
The deputy chief minister looked glum and lost even during the first joint press conference of the new Cabinet late on Thursday night and maintained an uncanny silence.
The meeting had itself started after a delay at 9 pm in the wake of arguments over portfolio distribution.
Besides Nitin, former senior cabinet minister Babubhai Bokhiria from Porbander and former minister of state from Vadodara Rajendra Trivedi also expressed their anger at being dropped.