The Telegraph
Thursday , May 15 , 2014
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Since there’s no Basu, edge for Anandiben

Gandhinagar, May 14: In Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar where the BJP is already celebrating, the spectre of a Gujarat without Narendra Modi is casting a shadow on the wingding.

Some strategists of Modi are comparing Modi’s likely departure from the state to what they described as the void in the Left leadership in Bengal after Jyoti Basu’s death.

“Frankly, there is no one to fit into Narendrabhai’s shoes. So there is a deep concern about the future of the BJP in the state. Nobody wants a situation like Bengal where nobody could quite be another Jyoti Basu — and in a way, it gradually led to the crumbling of the Left in the state,” said a close aide of Modi.

As to who might have to shoulder the task of administering Gujarat after Modi's possible shift to Delhi, four names had been doing the rounds in Gandhinagar’s power corridors so far.

Apart from RSS pracharak Bhikhu Dalsania, the rest — Anandiben Patel, Nitin Patel and Saurabh Patel — are ministers in the current state cabinet.

On Wednesday, even before he engaged with Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari at Gandhinagar, Modi had decided on his successor in Gujarat, the aide said.

“The formal announcement will be made only after government formation in Delhi — but it is Anandiben Patel who will lead the state after Modi,” said the Modi aide.

Anandiben, 70, is Gujarat’s revenue minister. She holds a host of other portfolios as well.

During his 12-year tenure as Gujarat chief minister, Modi has put in place an administrative regime designed by him and run by a team of bureaucrats.

Modi, say many in the state unit of the party, has drawn up a blue print for Gujarat till 2030 and he will continue to rule the state in absentia irrespective of who the chief minister is.