While the party maintains that the meeting is a routine affair, multiple sources in the BJP indicated the possibility of some serious rejig in the government as the state assembly elections are due next year.
The party, apart from facing anti-incumbency of more than two decades, is also facing the impact of the pandemic-induced severe economic slowdown as well as massive loss of lives during the pandemic that has exposed the weakness of the state’s health infrastructure.
The pandemic period also saw the rift between chief minister Vijay Rupani and the Gujarat BJP president CR Patil widen in a big way. While the state machinery was struggling to maintain the supply of the anti-viral injection Remdesivir that was being sold at astronomical prices in the black market, Patil had arranged 5,000 vials of the drug and got them distributed for free from the BJP headquarters in Surat to patients in need of it.
Asked how Patil managed to secure this, Rupani asked media persons to seek answers from Patil as he did not know how Patil did this.
Patil, known for his proximity to the PM, had been one of the chief architects of BJP’s spectacular win in Uttar Pradesh in 2017 and was brought in to head the Gujarat unit last year.
The relations between Rupani and Patil has been less than cordial. Patil, on his appointment, had asked the ministers to be present, for one day a week, at Kamalam, the BJP headquarters to listen to the party workers.
Another concern for the party is the grand showing of debutant AAP in the Surat municipal election where it emerged as the opposition with 27 councillors pushing the Congress out of the game. While the BJP romped home with 93 seats, the result also signified the powerful
voters shifting towards AAP.
“The traditional Patel voters may not openly vote for the Congress, but they do see an option in AAP,” admitted a senior BJP worker, adding that the Surat civic poll results may have an impact in Saurashtra region as well.
“Also, this is for the first time that the BJP may not have a Patidar either as president or chief minister of the state as it goes to elections,” said the worker pointing out that in 2017, while Rupani was chief minister, it was Jitu Vaghani, a Patidar from Bhavnagar who was the party president.
BJP Gujarat in-charge Bhupendra Yadav is scheduled to visit Gujarat on Friday for two days and is expected to deliver the decision of the party high command to the state unit personally. When contacted, BJP spokesperson Yamal Vyas refused to ascribe any significance to the visit.