New Delhi: In a surprise move, Vijay Rupani on Saturday resigned as Chief Minister of Gujarat almost 15 months before state polls, becoming the fourth chief minister to be changed in six months in three states - Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Gujarat.
In March, the saffron party replaced Uttarkhand then chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat with Lok Sabha member Tirath Singh Rawat. In July, four months after being made chief minister, Tirath Singh Rawat was replaced by two time MLA Pushkar Singh Dhami.
After Uttarakhand, BJP replaced BS Yediyurappa with BS Bommai.
A party leader claimed that chief ministers in Gujarat and Karnataka were replaced to bring in new leadership in the state.
"In Karnataka, there was strong resentment against the chief minister and his son. Similarly, there was demand in Gujarat unit for removal of Rupani by a section of the party saying it will be difficult to win next year`s state polls under his leadership," he said.
While in Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat was replaced to bring in a new face but Tirath Singh Rawat was removed due to his failure to get elected to state assembly within six months of being sworn in as chief minister of state.
Among all the replacements of BJP chief ministers, the current change of guard in Gujarat took place without any buzz.
"There was a discussion and demand from a section in the party to change the chief minister but no one expected that news would come this way. We have no idea that it will be announced after submitting resignation," a party leader from Gujarat said.
In March, before replacing Trivendra Singh Rawat, the BJP had sent two members to the state, which included former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, to collect feedback.
Similarly, before replacing Tirath Singh Rawat, the BJP central leadership had called him to the national capital and explained to him about the constitutional and legal crisis. Amid months of speculation about a change of guard in Karnataka, Yediyurappa had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top BJP leadership. Yediyurappa took his time and resigned after the completion of two years of his government in July.