The Shiv Sena on Tuesday said the sudden change of guard in Gandhinagar, where first-time Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Bhupendra Patel has been appointed the new chief minister, reflected the style of functioning generally associated with the Congress and claimed the move shows the 'balloon' of Gujarat's development model has burst.
An editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana said the people of Gujarat were extremely angry over the "collapse" of healthcare system during the second wave of COVID-19, when Vijay Rupani was the chief minister, and the BJP also realised that the influential Patidar community, to which Patel belongs, is miffed with the party, leading to the change at the top in the adjoining state.
"The same thing takes place in the Congress and we have to call it democracy," quipped the Sena, a former BJP ally which now shares power with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra.
With the sudden leadership change, the editorial claimed the "balloon' of Gujarat's model of development, governance and democracy has now burst.
"Patel was not even made a minister in the last four years, but he was directly made the chief minister. If Gujarat was truly on path of progress, then why did the BJP change its chief minister overnight?" the Marathi daily sought to know.
Amid the cacophony of vikas (development), if leadership is suddenly changed, people raise doubts, it said.
"Is this the Gujarat model where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will actually have to call the shots by keeping Patel at the forefront ahead of the state polls (due in December next year)?" the editorial asked.
Patel is a staunch supporter of former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel while Rupani had the backing of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and this would make the coming days "chaotic as well as interesting," the publication said.
"Replacing Rupani with Patel was a facile act. The BJP is convinced that it would face a backlash due to unemployment, closure of major factories, including carmaker Ford's plant near Ahmedabad," it said.
Gujarat's healthcare system "collapsed" during the second wave of COVID-19 and people are extremely angry over it, the editorial claimed, adding the closure of Ford plant has led to around 40,000 people losing their livelihood.
"The Gujarat state government was staring helplessly at the dance of death during the second COVID-19 wave. Pyres were lit in every village and people were anguished," the Sena publication said.
"People who are not in limelight have been given key positions (by the BJP), like the selection of Devendra Fadnavis as Maharashtra chief minister after the 2014 assembly polls," the editorial said.
Patel represents Gujarat's Patidar community, which is miffed with the BJP, it claimed.