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  India   Politics  10 Oct 2017  Anandiben Patel tells Amit Shah: ‘Won’t fight Gujarat polls’

Anandiben Patel tells Amit Shah: ‘Won’t fight Gujarat polls’

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Oct 10, 2017, 1:33 am IST
Updated : Oct 10, 2017, 11:45 am IST

Incidentally, Anandiben Patel, who succeeded Modi after he became Prime Minister, belongs to the powerful Patidar community.

Former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel (Photo: PTI)
 Former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Former Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel, who had cited the BJP’s unofficial age bar of 75 years to “voluntarily” quit the post last year, has mentioned the same reason in a letter to party president Amit Shah expressing unwillingness to contest the coming Assembly elections.

With the Congress appearing in a resurgent mode, many feel it will not be smooth sailing for the ruling BJP in the state, facing flak over attacks on dalits and also under pressure from Patidars, who are demanding quotas.

 

The battle for Gujarat intensified on Monday with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi launching a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his development model. Mr Gandhi questioned the government’s economic measures, including GST, and said that a government runs on compassion, not cruelty.

Incidentally, Ms Anandiben Patel, who succeeded Mr Modi after he became Prime Minister, belongs to the powerful Patidar community. Though she cited the age bar for her resignation last year, there were corruption and nepotism allegations against her and rumours that she had lost her grip over the state adminsitration. Her resignation had also led to factionalism rumours in the state unit, as it is said she doesn’t have a good rapport with Mr Shah.

 

Ms Patel’s letter to Mr Shah also comes in the wake of reports that her supporters and constituency workers want the party leadership to renominate her. In her letter, the former CM mentioned she had cited the 75-year age bar when she quit the CM’s post and in “connection (with) same policy”, she doesn’t want to contest the 2017 Assembly polls. Ms Patel has represented the Ghatlodia Assembly seat since 1998. She requested the party to field a local party worker and promised that whatever election-related responsibility was assigned to her, she would “give justice to it with all my efforts... I will continue to work for the party till the end of my life”.

 

A day after the Prime Minister wrapped up his two-day tour of Gujarat, Mr Rahul Gandhi started on his second leg of Gujarat campaign. Continuing his attack against Mr Modi, the Congress leader said when the PM says nothing has happened in the past 70 years, he is not questioning the Congress, but the people of this country. He said India’s progress was not because of any party or politician but because of its people.

Hitting out at the government over loans, Mr Gandhi said: “The Modi government’s new model is a model for industrialists. Loans given to the poor is their right, not a gift. In case the Congress comes to power, we will give loans to the poor, farmers, women... who the Modi government ignores.” In the first leg of the “Navsarjan Yatra”, which ended on September 29, Mr Gandhi had covered the state’s Saurashtra region.

 

Countering Mr Gandhi’s remarks, Union minister Smriti Irani accused him of “insulting” the people of Gujarat and claimed the Congress will suffer a “historic defeat” in the coming Assembly polls. A Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, Ms Irani was in Mr Gandhi’s constituency Amethi and said “vikas” (development) is not something to be ridiculed, instead it should be welcomed.

Tags: anandiben patel, amit shah, gujarat assembly elections
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi