When Amit Shah met Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel in Delhi on Feb 7, the heat from the land deal involving the latter’s daughter Anar was still scalding the air. It was reportedly a rather frosty discussion the CM had with party president Shah, after arriving in Delhi for a meeting of the Gujarat and UP units with the party leadership. On the menu: strictly organisational issues plaguing the Gujarat BJP and the long-pending decision to appoint a state head.
Yet, even before the CM could catch her breath from the Delhi trip, a regional daily in Gujarat had splashed an eye-catching report about her pointed snub to Shah over the weekend. The daily reported that Anandiben, when quizzed about her daughter’s alleged land grab, told the party chief to ask the prime minister about it. While no one in the BJP was quite willing to talk about the alleged altercation between the two old rivals on Sunday, the news report reconfirmed what’s been an open secret for a while in Gujarat: namely, a raging battle between two of the Modi’s favourite people and proteges, pitted in a power struggle.
The battle between Shah and the CM has led to such a stalemate that even the appointment of the state party chief required the PM’s intervention. Reports suggest that while Shah was backing his trusted aide Pradipsinh Jadeja for the post, the CM was rooting for her own man, Mansukh Mandaviya. Fed up with the tug-of-war, Modi is keen now to appoint Bhupendra S. Chudasama and get things going. Even the appointment of Ahmedabad mayor Gautam Shah, sources say, has been a sore point between Shah and Anandiben.
Rumour has it that is precisely why the scoop on Anar Patel’s land dealings in The Economic Times was allegedly a bit of an insider’s job. A conversation with BJP leaders in Gujarat...