A direct message that the BJP is now looking beyond Patels – Patels may be influential but they are just 12-15 percent of the Gujarat population.
Minority (Muslim) and SC voters form another 25 percent. So, that gives the BJP enough space to maneuver for the OBC voters who form the largest chunk of the population – almost 50 percent.
First not succumbing to the Patel agitation pressure – and then not appointing a Patel CM – enough messages to the OBC voters.
Vijay Rupani, the Gujarat CM designate is a career RSS veteran even if he is the first time MLA. When Narendra Modi was made Gujarat CM in 2001, he also had no significant administration of running the political offices of a government. So, there is a precedent and Rupani will face no acceptability problem.
It also shows who is going to be the boss in the next assembly polls scheduled for December 2017 – Amit Shah.
Rupani is seen close to Amit Shah while Anandiben and Amit Shah are bitter rivals. So, it will be basically Amit Shah now who will wield the real power.
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.