A brewing crisis in the Gujarat government has been diffused after BJP president Amit Shah reached out to sulking deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who had delayed taking charge over not getting portfolios of his choice in the new Cabinet.Patel agreed to take charge today after Shah called him up this morning and assured him that he will be given a portfolio fitting his “stature” as Number Two in the government. Later in the afternoon, he was alloted the important Finance portfolio. He used to previously hold it but CM Rupani had given the portfolio to another key leader Saurabh Patel. “BJP President Amit Shah today called up early morning and assured me that I will be given a portfolio which is fit for my stature as number two in the Cabinet and as the deputy chief minister,” Patel told reporters here. Nitin Patel was in charge of both important Finance and Urban Development departments in the previous government. The finance portfolio has been alloted to Saurabh Patel, while chief minister Rupani has kept the urban development department with himself. However, Patel has maintained that the issue was not about some departments, but about “self-respect”. “I had conveyed to party high command to either give me respectable departments or relive me from Cabinet,” he said today. Patel said he had been serving the party like a “loyal and disciplined” soldier.While announcing the portfolios two days back, Rupani had said, “It is not true that the minister, who has the finance portfolio, is the number two in the cabinet. Nitin Patel is our senior leader and will remain the number two.” Sending feelers to the deputy CM, Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel yesterday said he would extend support to Patel and talk to the Congress to give him the respect he deserved. “If Patel decided to quit the BJP and said 10 other MLAs were ready to quit with him, We will talk to the Congress to take in Nitin bhai and give him a post he deserves,” the Patidar leader had said. Senior Congress MLA Virji Thummar yesterday said Patel would be made the chief minister with the Congress’ support if he quit the BJP.Also readGujarat Deputy CM Nitin Patel assumes office on SundayThe 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”. The BJP and Congress hold 99 and 77 seats, respectively, in the 182-member House.
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