On Thursday, BJP President Amit Shah held talks with state party leaders at his residence in Ahmedabad to pick a new Chief Minister for Gujarat.
Anandiben Patel vacated her position as Gujarat’s chief minister two days ago paving way for a younger candidate as Patel was over 75 years old.
State BJP in-charge Dinesh Sharma and party treasurer Surendra Patel met Shah on Thursday morning to finalise the new chief minister of the state.
Shah is likely to hold another meeting with the top state leaders and ministers later today.
On Wednesday, Anandiben submitted her resignation to the Governor after the party’s parliamentary board in Delhi accepted her offer to resign, paving way for selection of a new Chief Minister for the BJP-ruled Gujarat. More importantly, to lead the party in the 2017 state Assembly polls.
The names doing the rounds as a potential successor to Patel include the ‘number two’ in the Cabinet and Health Minister Nitin Patel, Union Minister Purshottam Rupala and Assembly Speaker Ganpat Vasava, a tribal leader.
Initially there was speculation that the state BJP chief Vijay Rupani too was in the race to become chief minister. But he clarified on Wednesday that he was happy in his current capacity.
Nitin Patel has now emerged as a strong contender for the post.
Anandiben Patel, who will turn 75 in November, took over as the Chief Minister of Gujarat in May 2014 from the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Even though Patel cited her age — BJP’s undeclared cut-off mark — as the reason behind her decision, her resignation decision came at a time when the ruling party is faced with heat over the Dalit unrest and Patidar agitation in its stronghold for years.
“I am asking the party to relieve me two months in advance as the new chief minister will require the time to work, when the state is going to face elections in 2017 and an important event like Vibrant Gujarat Summit to be held in January,” Patel had said while announcing her decision to quit.
(With inputs from PTI)