The opposition Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday asked the Gujarat government to make public reasons behind stripping two cabinet ministers of their key portfolios.
Ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls due later this year, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel in a sudden move on Saturday stripped ministers Rajendra Trivedi and Purnesh Modi of the revenue and the roads & buildings portfolios, respectively.
Both Trivedi and Modi are among the 10 cabinet-rank ministers in the Bhupendra Patel government.
Trivedi is now left with the disaster management, law and justice, legislative and parliamentary affairs department, while Modi will continue to hold charge of the transport, civil aviation, tourism and pilgrimage development departments.
“Both Trivedi and Modi are senior ministers in the government and hence, the people of Gujarat have every right to know about what exactly led the chief minister to remove them (from the key departments) so unceremoniously,” Gujarat Congress chief spokesperson Manish Doshi told reporters.
AAP national joint secretary Indranil Rajguru said the decision to take away the important portfolios from the two senior ministers is not a “personal matter” of the BJP and it affects the public at large. Hence, the government should let the public know what exactly were the reasons behind the decision, he said. “On behalf of the people of Gujarat, Id like to ask the BJP as to why you removed the ministers? Is it because of some differences between state BJP chief C R Paatil and the chief minister? Is the Gujarat government run from Delhi? People have every right to know,” Rajguru said.
Doshi said if the government is clean, it should not hide the reasons behind removing Trivedi and Modi from the two departments. “The BJP came to power in Gujarat in 2017 with the promise to remove corruption, but continued to foster corruption. Not long back, the party changed the entire state cabinet but the process of corruption continued,” he alleged.
“Changing two ministers will not stop corruption in the state. Even changing the entire cabinet did not change the nature of loot,” he claimed. If the governments intention is clear, then it should let us know where Trivedi and Modi failed, Doshi said.
Rajguru said the state governments move affects the administration. Both the ministers were likely removed either because they were taking decisions in favour of the public or because of corruption, he claimed.
Doshi claimed the revenue portfolio that Trivedi had held was the “epicentre of corruption” and the minister managed to get hold of the proof of corruption by senior BJP leaders that led to his removal.
Modi was removed because he used to favour people close to him in granting construction contracts rather than those whom he was asked to give the contracts, the Congress leader alleged. Under the new arrangement, CM Patel will hold the additional charge of both the ministries as of now, while Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi has been given the additional responsibility of revenue as its MoS.
Minister of State for Industries and Forest and Environment, Jagdish Panchal, will be the MoS for road and building department.
Patel replaced Vijay Rupani as the chief minister last September when the entire Gujarat cabinet was asked to resign by the top BJP leadership. The Gujarat Assembly elections are due in December this year.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)