Published On : Sat, Dec 30th, 2017

Crack in new Gujarat cabinet? Sulking deputy CM avoids office

Vijay Rupani and Nitin Patel at BJP party office in Gandhinagar
Gandhinagar: All is not well in the newly inducted Vijay Rupani government. Signs of discontent were visible as deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, who suffered the ignominy of being stripped off three key portfolios – finance, urban development and petroleum – did not assume office in the Sachivalaya in Gandhinagar on Friday even as many ministers took charge.

Power corridors are abuzz with speculation that Patel, who was relegated to the post of deputy CM at the eleventh hour instead of the top post in 2016, is in no mood to put up with another embarrassment. Patel, who is learnt to have demanded finance and urban development portfolios this time too, feels he is being “cut to size”, according to a close aide.

“The Dy CM, who had made his displeasure known to the top leadership over key portfolios being taken away from him on Thursday, was told that his grievance would be resolved in two days. Patel is adamant that if his bosses do not keep their word, he will quit on the grounds that his self-respect is being hurt,” said a top source close to the development.

While Patel could not be reached for a comment, sources said that he is upset over multiple issues. His foremost grouse is being divested of the finance ministry, conventionally considered a preserve of the No 2 in the cabinet. His junior Saurabh Patel has been given the portfolio. Two other key portfolios, namely urban development and petroleum, held by the deputy CM were taken by Rupani himself.