BJP’s Out-of-the-box ‘All-clean Incumbency Model’ Gamble

Politically bold, out-of-the-box thinking, an innovative approach and taking feedback seriously — this is how senior BJP leaders are describing the unprecedented exercise in Gujarat where ex-chief minister Vijay Rupani’s entire cabinet was given the boot to make way for fresh faces.

Some are calling it the ‘All-Clean Incumbency Model’ while the Opposition is using the opportunity to question the BJP saying that the wholesale dropping of the Council of Ministers shows the government has failed in Gujarat. However, BJP leaders that News18 spoke to, said this exercise is in fact one which ‘only the BJP under a strong Prime Minister like Narendra Modi could have executed’. LIVE updates here

It is for the first time in the history of Independent India that such a step has been taken in any state, one senior leader in the party said. “It shows political boldness, and out-of-the-box thinking. This is an innovative approach to solve certain problems in a new way and a radical shift in the way politics happens,” the leader said. BJP is in power in Gujarat for over 25 years now and won the last elections narrowly. “This is an exercise to improve the BJP’s equation with the people,” a leader said.

Feedback – positive and negative

Another party leader said this full-scale change shows the kind of feedback mechanism that exists in the party and how seriously it is taken. News18 had earlier reported that a detailed review done over a couple of months by party state in-charge Bhupender Yadav and National General Secretary (Organization) BL Santhosh had revealed that certain level of dissatisfaction amongst people had developed against then Chief Minister Vijay Rupani as well as his Council of Ministers.

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But won’t the Congress have a field day now by claiming that the BJP had to drop its entire council of ministers just 15 months before the elections, showing the government was a failure? A BJP source countered that there in no Congress in any equation in the state. “The only equation in Gujarat is between the people and the BJP. We are improving our equation with the people with this exercise,” the source said.

The Council of Ministers seems to have the stamp of approval from state party president CR Paatil with a lot of representation from South Gujarat and good representation of  Patidars and OBCs, with more young faces and women. This also strengthens the equation between the party and the government ahead of the elections, with Paatil getting his way mostly.

Another source also added that the BJP’s approach in Gujarat was much in contrast with Congress-ruled states like Rajasthan or Punjab where the Congress has been unable to even execute minor cabinet reshuffles given the bitter public infighting inside the party. “Hence the difference with the Congress is even more stark. In BJP, discipline matters,” the source said. Former Deputy CM in Gujarat Nitin Patel seems unhappy with the exercise though and has given sly statements like no one can ever remove him from the hearts of the people.

To many, this clean slate change is reminiscent of that line in an old light bulb advertisement — Saare Ghar ke Badal Dalunga!

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