- Published: Monday, 01 January 2018 11:05
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The Deputy CM was earlier given Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education, Roads and Buildings, Narmada, Kalpasar and Patnagar Yojana. According to sources, he was unhappy about important portfolios such as Finance and Urban Development being taken away from him in the new Cabinet. While Chief Minister Vijay Rupani kept the Urban Development portfolio, senior leader Saurabh Patel was given Finance. Now, Saurabh Patel is left with only Energy portfolio.
Addressing a press conference before assuming office at the “vijay mahurat” of 11.49 am, Nitin Patel said: “Today morning, at 7.30 am, national president Amit Shah called me up and assured me that they have accepted my demand, so I should join my office today. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani will submit a letter to Governor O P Kohli, the party has taken the decision.”
Speaking to some television channels, Rupani said: “Nitinbhai has been given the Finance portfolio. The high command has taken a decision, the matter is settled, he has taken charge and gone to Mehsana. The issue that was going on for two days is over now.”
When contacted, Saurabh Patel told The Indian Express, “I am fine with whatever the party decides.” At his press conference, Nitin Patel said he had not demanded any ministry. “I have not put forward any demand for a ministry, but only said that since I am Deputy Chief Minister, give me respect and pride… (give me) portfolios keeping that in mind… In the last government, I was given Finance and Urban Development, which I haven’t been given this time,” he said, adding, “I thank the party for accepting my demand”.
“I only wanted that since I am Deputy Chief Minister, the Number Two in the government… I have been a minister for 25 years, I have been with the BJP for 40 years… Give me respect and pride, (I) should be given responsibility according to that. I did not demand any ministry… only (demanded) that my respect and pride should be maintained,” said the seven-time MLA.
After addressing the press briefing, Nitin Patel headed for his office in Gandhinagar, where he took charge at 11.49 am. He then went to Mehsana, from where he won the election this time. Patel is learnt to have expressed his displeasure to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior party leader V Satish, Gujarat ministers Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Kaushik Patel and Pradipsinh Jadeja, and RSS emissaries Chintan Upadhyay and Hasmukh Patel over the last few days.
“All of them advised and offered guidance to me. I do not seek important departments but only as per my stature and respect,” he said. “Nitin Patel has agreed, and is happy now. So am I, having been the mediator (in the crisis),” said Chudasama.
Rubbishing talk of him leaving the party, Nitin Patel said: “Congress sees this as a political opportunity and was hoping to topple the BJP government so that they can form the government. But they don’t know that even during the last crisis (Patidar agitation), I was with the party. I am a BJP worker and will remain a BJP worker. I have been a party worker since the Jan Sangh days when the BJP was yet to be formed.”
He said he had not succumbed to “offers” when the party split in 1996 after former Chief Minister Shankersinh Vaghela formed the Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP) which later merged with the Congress.
Last August, Nitin Patel’s name had done the rounds as Anandiben Patel’s replacement for CM till the last minute before the party had picked Rupani and made him Deputy CM instead. Nitin Patel is senior to Rupani in the government, having held ministerial berths in the Narendra Modi-led regime.
(Source: The Indian Express)