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Chief Minister may step down from office Wednesday, September 26, 2001
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
GANDHINAGAR: Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel may offer to step down from office in the wake of growing criticism of his leadership and the government's track record after the BJP's humiliating defeat in the recent by-elections.
Sources say Keshubhai may leave the matter to the BJP's central leadership which has summoned him to New Delhi on Thursday to discuss the poll results. State BJP president Rajendrasinh Rana and organising secretary Sanjay Joshi will be present during the discussions.
Keshubhai had made a similar offer four months back, at a meeting with representatives of the Sangh Parivar. What is, however, not known is whether the party would accept his resignation offer, if it does come, at a time when assembly elections are just over a year away. The sources point that at this stage the BJP cannot afford to leave Keshubhai sulking and, if at all there is a move for change in leadership, it has to be with his consent.
When contacted, Keshubhai said, "I will be going to Delhi on Thursday where all important issues pertaining to the political situation arising out of the by-elections will be discussed. "The central leaders will ascertain the views of senior functionaries before coming to any conclusion on issues like future course of action and leadership." He denied plans to step down at this stage.
Meanwhile, jails and rural housing minister Jaspal Singh blasted the BJP's state and central leadership for "not hearing the warning signals" and "taking the party on a suicidal course" in Gujarat .
Singh remarked that the BJP's defeat had hardly surprised him. "The writing was clearly on the wall, but they were refusing to see the message which was loud and clear. Even the central leadership, which ignored the warnings, should share the blame."
Asked whether he would again demand a leadership change, Jaspal replied, "We in the BJP believe that the party is greater than the individual. If, in the interest of the party, some individuals have to be cast aside, this should be done because it will have a positive impact on the party."
Jaspal said he felt sorry for the party cadre who toil hard only to be let down by the leaders. "We are a cadre-based party and merit should be the only criteria for rising in the organisation. But we see that personal loyalty and manipulation help one to grow in the organisation at the cost of merit."
Jaspal alleged that a coterie around the CM, which had vested interests and was indulging in "corruption on a mammoth scale", had blinded his vision.
Meanwhile, another dissident legislator and GIDC chairman Purshottam Rupala said, "Someone from the government or the party should own up responsibility for the BJP's debacle. "It is high time the party initiated action instead of pondering over suggestions and recommendations, which has proved fatal."
Union textiles minister Kashiram Rana has already aired his views and said "the central leadership should make necessary changes at all levels as people's verdict had gone against the ruling party for the second time in last 14 months".
News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]