Ahmedabad: The buzz making rounds in political circles is Narendra Modi has found his successor.
The Gujarat Chief Minister is banking on his current favourite and MoS Saurabh Patel in the event of his move to Delhi in 2014.
Saurabh (54) has inched closer to Modi while former MoS Amit Shah was away because of his legal problems. Modi told parliamentary board members that Saurabh needs to be shifted to a safe seat because he needed him in the next assembly. Saurabh has been moved from Botad to Akota, a report published in TOI said.
Modi's decision, according to political experts, could also be a veiled bid to appease the 'mighty' Patel community, which is miffed with the Gujarat CM following the departure of their strongman Keshubhai Patel from the BJP.
An MBA from the US, Saurabh is related through marriage to the Ambanis but is considered closer to the Adanis. He is critical to corporate houses as he holds the important portfolios of energy, finance, industries, petrochemicals, minerals and civil aviation.
The media has been speculating Modi's oldest aide and revenue minister Anandiben Patel as Modi's successor. However, Anandiben (71) has health problems and has been moved from Patan to Ghatlodia for her to nurse it well without much travel. She had even requested for a more closer place -- Ahmedabad -- for the elections.
The three-time MLA, Patel has changed her constituency as many times. In 1998 she contested and won the poll-battle from Mandal, but later shifted to Patan in 2002 and 2007. In 2012, she will try her luck from the Patel dominated constituency, Ghatlodia. According to party sources, fearing anti incumbency against herself in Patan, Patel had lobbied hard for Ghatlodia for the last three years.
She had become active in city politics and took special care that her close councillors got key positions in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. She was geared in the poll-mode for the last six months.
Patel, 70, is a powerful leader and has been conducting meetings of even those departments which are not under her. She is also supervising progress of the Narmada dam project, which will be a significant poll issue. As a former school principal, she knows all about imparting tough lessons.
(With DNA inputs)