Anandiben Patel resigns: For party, govt, string of reverses under her watch

In two years of her chief ministership, Anandiben Patel faced two of the biggest caste uprisings in Gujarat — one by the powerful and affluent Patidars and the other by the Dalits. Both saw agitated youths, promising voters, out on the streets, unhappy with the BJP.
Towards the end of May, when she completed two years in office, there was talk all around that she was quitting. On Monday, when she posted her resignation letter on Facebook, she confirmed that she did offer to resign two months ago. But that was long before the Dalit protests, triggered by the July 11 incident of a Dalit family being flogged by gau rakshaks for skinning a dead cow in Una.
That she and the party were in trouble in Gujarat was evident even before May. And there were telltale signs. In the local body elections in December 2015, the BJP was jolted by the string of reverses in district and taluka panchayats, its rural base considerably eroded. For the first time in over two decades, Congress had gained ground in the rural areas.
And now, the AAP and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has descended on Gujarat, launching a direct attack on Anandiben. Her government was blamed for “miscalculating” and “mishandling” the Patidar agitation for reservation. The crackdown on protesters alienated the powerful Patels. Even a section of the BJP did not agree with her government’s decision to book Patidar leader Hardik Patel for sedition. After months in jail, he now bides time in Rajasthan in line with conditions set for his bail.
To make amends, Anandiben’s government announced a 10 per cent EWS quota for upper castes which is now being challenged in the Gujarat High Court. All admissions have been stayed till this is resolved, putting at risk
young careers.
The shifting of the Director General of Police did not placate the Patidars who still nurse a grouse against the BJP. Probably one reason why she announced last week that 90 per cent of the cases against Patidars were being taken back. Red tapism also hit real estate businesses. This is a constituency the BJP had always kept happy. But on July 29, top builders led by president of the Gujarat Institute of Housing and Estate Developers (GIHED) went public about their issues with Anandiben. GIHED president Dipak Patel said the Chief Minister, who also holds the urban development portfolio, failed to give them audience.

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