Strong resentment among BJP cadre at ground level against him was one of the main reasons for Vijay Rupani's removal as Gujarat Chief Minister, sources said.
Rupani on Saturday resigned from office. A section in the party believes that the decision to replace the chief minister might help the party beat anti-incumbency against the government among its own cadre.
While there is no clarity at what exactly led to Rupani's resignation, sources in the saffron party said that there were many reasons for his removal -- one of the primary reasons being strong resentment against him among party cadre.
"There was a strong resentment among cadre against Rupani. His popularity is low among BJP workers. The removal of Rupani will help the party control the dissent at ground well in advance ahead of next year's assembly polls. In other words we can say that the move might help the party beat anti-incumbency against the government and the chief minister among its own cadre," a BJP leader said.
It is learnt that while discussing the reasons for Rupani's removal, the party leadership decided keeping workers unhappy will adversely affect the party's electoral performance in the state polls, which is all set to become triangular with the entry of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Another leader pointed out that it is a political course correction ahead of assembly polls. "By bringing a new face, BJP will try to address the issue of social engineering in the state, which played a crucial role in state politics," he said.
A party insider claimed that Rupani lacks the quality of a firebrand leader and may not be able to take on Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which is all set to contest state polls scheduled in November-December next year.
"He (Rupani) was good in executing the given works or assignments, but lacked the quality we needed in our chief ministerial candidate to take on Congress and AAP in assembly polls. Workers are demanding a leader who can lead the party from the front under guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union home minister Amit Shah," he said.
Rupani took the state's Chief Ministerial position on August 7, 2016, and is representing Rajkot West in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly. It is learnt from sources that the party will declare Rupani's replacement by Sunday.