The Bharatiya Janata Party has made Vijay Rupani a scapegoat to hide its mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis in the state, Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda said on Saturday, according to The Indian Express.
Chavda’s comments came hours after Rupani resigned as the Gujarat chief minister along with the entire state Cabinet.
The Congress leader said that the state government has been an “abject failure” on all fronts. “We knew that the state government in Gujarat was remote controlled from Delhi and the manner in which Anandiben [former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel] was asked to resign without completing her term, in the same manner, Vijay Rupani has also not been allowed his full term,” he said.
Patel had resigned as the chief minister in August 2016, saying someone younger should take on the job. However, some commentators at the time had linked her decision with two major protests in the state – the Patidar agitation for quotas and the demonstrations by Dalits across the state after four tanners were beaten up by cow vigilantes in Una.
Chavda said that internal disputes in the Gujarat BJP unit had been apparent since CR Paatil was chosen the party’s state president in July 2020.
“The government had failed in Covid management, over three lakh people died in first and second wave,” he claimed.
The Aam Aadmi Party’s Gujarat General Secretary Manoj Sorathiya claimed that the BJP has gone on defensive mode due to the enthusiasm and hope that people have expressed with respect to his party.
The Aam Aadmi Party is looking to expand its presence in Gujarat where Assembly elections will be held next year. In the municipal elections held in February, the party had won 27 seats in the Surat Corporation and to emerge as the main opposition party in the Surat corporation.
“If the BJP has to change its chief minister after having governed the state for 27 years, then it shows its poor state,” he remarked.
Sorathiya added that the Gujarat BJP was “carrying out the politics of changing faces” as it has no other options. “The people of Gujarat have now made up their minds to defeat the BJP in the upcoming elections,” he claimed.
The Aam Aadmi Party’s official Twitter handle also took a dig at the prime minister while commenting on Rupani’s resignation. “Modi ji, now that you are facing a real opposition party, you changed the chief minister of Uttarakhand, and now Gujarat as well?”
On July 3, Tirath Singh Rawat had resigned as the Uttarakhand chief minister, less than four months after taking over the post.
Meanwhile, Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani said on Twitter that Rupani stepped down from his post “purely to take care of electoral arithmetic keeping 2022 assembly polls in mind.”
He added: “People of Gujarat would have appreciated had Mr. Rupani resigned for his monumental mismanagement of Covid crisis.”
Earlier in the day, Rupani said that he had been the chief minister for five years which was a long time when asked about the reasons behind his resignation.
Rupani became the Gujarat chief minister first on August 7, 2016, when he replaced Anandiben Patel. He was later sworn in again as the chief minister on December 26, 2017 after the state Assembly elections.
He is the only BJP chief minister of Gujarat, after Narendra Modi, to have held the post for over five years, according to India Today.