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October 2, 2001
1045 IST

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Keshubhai Patel resigns as Gujarat CM, Narendra Modi top contender

Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel has decided to resign on Tuesday, ending weeks of speculation about his fate following the defeat of Bharatiya Janata Party in the recently held by-elections to the Sabarkanta Lok Sabha and Sabarmati assembly seats.

Party sources said the Gujarat chief minister has already submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Patel, though, has not yet submitted his resignation to Gujarat Governor S S Bhandari

In a letter, submitted to BJP president Jana Krishnamurthy in Delhi on Monday, Patel referred to his services as a 'loyal and disciplined' worker of the party.

In his half-page letter, the chief minister said he would have no misgivings even if he was asked to step down in the interest of the party.

While a high-level committee headed by BJP president K Jana Krishnamurthy is engaged in finding a replacement for Patel, party sources said BJP General Secretary Narendra Modi appeared to be the front runner to replace Keshubhai Patel.

Gujarat BJP state unit General Secretary Gordhanbhai Zadhapia said the party has not been able to zero-in on any probable successor so far, though many names, prominently that of national BJP General Secretary Narendra Modi, were doing the rounds.

Of the total 117 BJP legislators in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, as many as 42 are from Patel community and a sizeable number are from Saurashtra region from where Keshubhai hails.

EARLIER REPORTS:
Keshubhai set to quit as Gujarat chief minister
Narendra Modi likely to succeed Keshubhai
28 BJP legislators oppose Keshubhai's removal
Vaghela's ghost continues to haunt BJP

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