Obviously the first one will be on who will be the next chief minister of Gujarat after Anandiben Patel, the outgoing CM, shocked everyone by announcing her wish to retire in a Facebook post. After her Facebook post that took the political and media circles by storm, she soon went to meet the Governor of the state to apprise him of the development.
Obviously we were expecting it – especially after the Patel reservation agitation that affected many parts of the state and was seen as a clear case of mishandling by Anandiben Patel. The agitation that got violent is now threatening the unbridled run of the BJP in the state after many Dalit atrocity incidents that has galvanized the Dalit community against the BJP.
Dalit or the SC voters may be just 8 percent in Gujarat and the minority voters may be just 12 percent, but their combine is a formidable foe in Uttar Pradesh where these two communities together form 38.5 percent of the population.
To send a message that BJP itself was worried on rising anti-Dalit incidents, especially to check the chances and social engineering of Mayawati’s Dalit-Muslim combine in Uttar Pradesh, where assembly polls are slated to be held early next year, before Gujarat goes to the polls somewhere in the last month of the year, the party had to take some tough decision.
And Anandiben Patel was the natural target here. She proved a weak CM who could not take along or tame the different communities of the state. To add to it, her family was entangled in corruption allegations.
And sacrificing Anandiben would serve another purpose – it would also help to appease the OBC voters in Uttar Pradesh. OBCs form the largest block of the population of the state – around 45 percent – and the BJP is targeting this vote bank. It has replaced its upper caste state president with an OBC face and will certainly try to encash the OBC credentials of prime minister Modi as it did in Lok Sabha polls.