File photo: Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. Photograph:( ANI )
The Gujarat deputy chief minister today said he had been assured by BJP chief Amit Shah that he would be given a department of his choice in the newly-appointed government in the state
Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel today said he had been assured by BJP chief Amit Shah that he would be given "suitable departments" in the newly-appointed government in the state.
"I have been assured that I will be given suitable departments, I also talked to Amit Shah ji over the phone. I thank him for the assurance," Nitin Patel said.
Hours later Nitin Patel took charge as Gujarat deputy chief minister in Gandhinagar.
A miffed Nitin Patel, who had not taken charge all this while, had said on Saturday he expected a proper response from the BJP high-command and that the issue "was not about some departments" but about self-respect. Also Read: BJP fumes after Hardik asks Nitin Patel to join Congress
"I have conveyed my feelings to the party high-command and I am hopeful that they will give a proper reply to my feelings soon," he had said.
"This is not about some departments, this is about self-respect," he added.
The portfolios in the new BJP government, headed by Vijay Rupani, were allotted three days ago.
Nitin Patel, having been stripped of three key portfolios - finance, urban development and petroleum, was allotted road and building, health, medical education, Narmada, Kalpsar and capital projects this time.
The finance portfolio has been allocated to Saurabh Patel, while chief minister Rupani has kept the urban development department to himself.
The deputy chief minister, who belongs to the influential Patidar community, has not taken charge of his departments so far.
His supporters thronged his residence on Saturday to express solidarity with him.
On Saturday, Patidar leaders Hardik Patel and Lalji Patel declared support for the deputy chief minister.
The BJP seems to have woken up to the outpouring of Opposition support for the sulking deputy chief minister.
Senior Congress MLA Virji Thummar said on Saturday that Nitin Patel would be made the chief minister with the Congress' support if he quit the BJP. The opposition party, however, clarified that Thummar was speaking in his personal capacity and described the row over portfolio distribution as the BJP's "internal matter".
Patidar leader Hardik Patel said on Saturday that he would talk to the Congress to get Nitin Patel a "good position" if he was ready to leave the BJP with the support of 10 legislators.
Lalji Patel, whose Sardar Patel Group was at the forefront of the Patidar quota agitation, along with the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, met Nitin Patel in Gandhinagar.
He called for a bandh in Mehsana -- Nitin Patel's Assembly constituency and a place which was the epicentre of the Patel quota agitation -- on January 1.
With 99 MLAs, the BJP has a simple majority in the 182- member Gujarat Assembly, against the 77 MLAs of the Congress.
(With inputs from agencies)