Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel refuted reports and social media posts that suggested he had decided to quit the BJP and described them as baseless.
The senior leader's clarification came in the wake of reports that he was unhappy and had decided to quit BJP along with some other MLAs in view of BJP president Amit Shah reportedly asking him to resign from the government.
"These reports are an attempt to tarnish my image. I had started my political career with BJP in my student days, and I will remain in the party. There is no question of quitting the BJP," Patel told reporters in Gandhinagar, saying that he would take legal action against the rumour mongers.
The reiteration by the Deputy CM came after a tweet on Thursday night which said that false and baseless posts were being made about him on social media to tarnish his image. He also requested his supporters and workers not to believe such rumours.
Some other posts on social media added fuel to the fire by claiming that Patel would be attending the Patidar Maha Panchayat organised by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti in Surendranagar on May 26, a claim explicitly denied by the deputy CM. Earlier in the day, Patidar reservation stir leader Hardik Patel said that a big rebellion was brewing in the BJP and Nitin Patel and several senior leaders were set to snap ties with the party. "The BJP government will not last very long," Hardik said.
Nitin Patel was also in news in December when he refused to attend office after allocation of portfolios claiming that they were not in line with his stature. At the time too reports said that he was set to cut-off ties with BJP. However, the crisis had blown over after his demand was accepted, and he was given the finance ministry. State BJP president Jitu Vaghani also rubbished the reports, and said that Nitin Patel was a loyal worker and senior leader of the party.
— (with agency inputs)