Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Friday dismissed rumours of him resigning from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and joining hands with Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel as "baseless".
Patel claimed that these rumours were raised with the motive of tarnishing his image.
Nitin Patel's clarification came after social media posts and reports claimed that he had been asked to resign as the deputy chief minister by BJP president Amit Shah. The reports further speculated that Patel was extremely unhappy after he was asked to resign and had decided to quit the BJP along with his supporters.
Patel asked his supporters to not believe in such propaganda and said that he would consider taking legal action against those spreading these rumours.
"There is an attempt to tarnish my image. I started my political career with the BJP when I was a student and will remain in the BJP. There is no question of quitting the party," he told media persons in Gandhinagar.
Last night, Patel had tweeted, "For the last few days, some people are posting false and baseless posts on me to tarnish my image on social media. I request all my well-wishers, party workers and people in general to not believe in such rumours."
The opposition Congress tried to take advantage of the situation saying that Patel was not valued by his party.
"Patel has not been rewarded properly for the hard work that he is doing for the BJP," Congress state president Amit Chavda said.
Another post on social media claimed that he would participate in the 'Patidar Mahapanchayat' organised by Patel quota leader Hardik Patel on May 26 and declare his support to the quota agitation.
The deputy chief minister, a Patel face of the BJP, has been with his party even during the turbulence of the Patel quota agitation and had managed to win from the Mehasana Assembly constituency in the 2017 state elections.
About Hardik's Mahapanchayat, Nitin Patel said, "We don't have anything to do with it. He was a man who tried to defeat the BJP's Patel candidates. He is working on the Congress' agenda."
However, Hardik Patel insisted that he had confirmed information that BJP president Amit Shah is planning to remove Nitin Patel from Deputy Chief Minister's post. He exuded confidence of Nitin Patel joining hands with him in coming days.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, when asked about the rumours of Patel quitting BJP, evaded the question.
Watch video: Gujarat Deputy CM Nitin Patel dismisses rumours of quitting BJP