No change of guard in Gujarat: Union minister

The political and media circles in the state are abuzz with speculation that either Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya or deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, both from Patel community, would replace Vijay Rupani before the Lok Sabha elections. PTI file photo

Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday dismissed speculation that his party is planning to appoint him as the chief minister of Gujarat.

“We have a government under Vijay Rupani. There is no question of change of guard. Vijaybhai is the chief minister and will remain the chief minister. I am neither interested nor is there any race for chief ministership in the state,” Mandaviya told reporters in Vadodara.

Mandaviya, who is Gujarat BJP general secretary and a Rajya Sabha member, has been frequenting the state since his elevation to the Centre.

Mandaviya’s reaction comes amidst rumours that the National BJP leadership is thinking of replacing Rupani as the chief minister. The political and media circles in the state are abuzz with speculation that either Mandaviya or deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, both from Patel community, would replace Rupani before the Lok Sabha elections.

“Rupani has been unable to sort out the Patel quota stir. He has also not been able to retain seats for the BJP in the last Assembly polls, seeing party’s tally in 182-seat Assembly go down below 100-mark in over two decades. Also, Patels and many other communities are getting restless, which does not augur well for the BJP,” a senior BJP leader said.

Recently, deputy CM Nitin had to refute similar rumour, when social media was rife with messages that he would be asked to step down from his post and will be asked to take over the responsibility of Parliamentary polls for the party. He was included in the 11-member BJP election committee on Wednesday.

However, those favouring Rupani claim that change of guard at this stage would send a wrong signal. “It would reflect poorly on BJP leadership as it would mean bringing in the third chief minister in four years after Narendra Modi left the state to become the PM,” another senior BJP leader said.

Talks are also rife that state minister for home Pradeepsinh Jadeja may replace current state party chief Jitu Vaghani. Jadeja, who hails from the Rajput community that is traditionally split between BJP and Congress in Gujarat, could help ruling party make gains with the community.

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No change of guard in Gujarat: Union minister

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