Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Nitin Patel took charge on Sunday as the state’s finance minister. He got the portfolio after Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah assured him on Sunday morning that he would get portfolios of his choice.
Patel had earlier refused to visit the secretariat as he was believed to be unhappy with the Vijay Rupani government for taking away three important portfolios – finance, petrochemicals and urban development – from him, The Hindu reported. “This is about prestige, not post,” the BJP leader had said.
The Patel community was believed to be angry with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his government in Gujarat because of this, and had come out in support of the senior Patidar leader. By late Saturday, Nitin Patel’s supporters had gathered outside his house and put up a marquee, The Indian Express reported. The minister came out around 11.15 pm to thank the people and urged them to leave.
On Saturday, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel had invited Nitin Patel to join him and accused the BJP of “not respecting the veteran leader”. Lalji Patel, the leader of the Sardar Patel Group that had launched the Patidar quota agitation along with the Hardik Patel’s outfit, had called for Nitin Patel to be made the chief minister.
A number of BJP leaders also met the deputy chief minister during the day, including senior leader from Surat and former minister Narottam Patel, The Indian Express reported. “Nitin bhai is a senior minister and his dignity has to be restored,” he told reporters. “The BJP did well in urban areas, and Nitin bhai played a key role in managing the urban development portfolio.”