Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel today submitted her resignation to Governor OP Kohli, hours after the BJP Parliamentary Board accepted her offer to quit and authorised party president Amit Shah to pick her successor to lead the party in 2017 polls.
Anandiben, who will turn 75 this November, handed overthe resignation letter to Kohli in the presence of ministersand party leaders at Raj Bhavan in the evening.
Kohli has asked her to continue until the new cheif minister takescharge. "Anandiben has submitted her resignation to thegovernor," state unit BJP president Vijay Rupani toldreporters after coming out of Raj Bhavan. Earlier in the day, the BJP Parliamentary Board which metin Delhi authorised Shah to pick Anandiben's successor afteraccepting her offer to resign.
The meeting of the Parliamentary Board, which waschaired by Shah and attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,appointed Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and BJP generalsecretary Saroj Pandey as party's central observers to holdconsultations with the MLAs for electing the new leader.
Shah will be travelling to Gujarat tomorrow where hewill hold consultations with party leaders and attend theLegislature Party meeting, likely to be held on Friday toelect the new leader. Though her departure was anticipated, the first womanchief minister of Gujarat had offered to step down on Mondayostensibly due to her age, as she is turning 75 soon.
Meanwhile, the political circles are abuzz with thelikey choice of her replacement. According to leaders in BJP, the decision onAnandiben's successor could be taken within the next two days. "We are yet to decide the time of the Legislature bodymeeting (to elect new leader) as state Observer Nitin Gadkariis busy.
It (meeting) can happen any time after 3 PM tomorrowor even a day after. Our national president Amit Shah willdecide it as he is arriving here tomorrow," said state unitBJP in-charge Dinesh Sharma. He said the Legislature Party meeting to decide the nextCM will be held in the presence of state Observers as per theprocess.
Parrying a query on likely contenders for CM's post,Sharma said, "A party worker will be chosen as next chiefminister." Interestingly, state unit BJP chief Vijay Rupani whosename is in the reckoning for the post besides others,virtually ruled himself out of the race, saying he would liketo work for the party organisation.
"I have told the party leadership that I would like to work for the organisation," Rupani said. Names of "number two" in state Cabinet and incumbentHealth minister Nitin Patel, Union minister Purshottam Rupalaand Assembly Speaker Ganpat Vasava, a tribal leader, are stilldoing the rounds.
Nitin Patel, who is considered to be the front-runner,said, "the party Central leadership will decide on who willbe the chief minister." Anandiben, meanwhile, issued advertisements innewspapers here today listing the works done during hertwo-year tenure.