In a surprise move, the BJP on Thursday picked the first-time councillor Amul Bhatt from Maninagar ward (elected in 2015) as chairman of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s (AMC) standing committee . He replaced Pravin Patel, who served two terms as the committee chairman. Bhatt was involved in coordination works for the party.However, many in the AMC believe that Bhatt’s appointment as chairman, which approves projects worth thousands of crores every year, is mainly because of his association with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and the latter’s wife Anjali.Both have RSS background, and were active members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) during their student days. According to sources in AMC, Vijay Rupani had stayed at Bhatt’s place in Ahmedabad during emergency days.”Anjali Rupani was a resident of Maninagar, and we worked together in ABVP. Between 1976 and 1980, Vijaybhai was also a full-time worker of ABVP, and this is how we came in contact. We also worked together when Vijaybhai became general secretary of state BJP, and I was the party’s general secretary in Ahmedabad. He is senior to me, and has guided me over the years,” Bhatt said.Rupanis’ role in Bhatt’s elevation to the key post can also be inferred from the fact that many in the BJP are unhappy about it. During the agenda meeting, when the decision was announced, former mayor Amit Shah objected to the same, arguing Bhatt was just in his first term as councillor, and was too junior. In the end, Shah had to withdraw his nomination from a seat in the standing committee.While Bhatt told DNA that he would take quick and strict action against officials not working honestly for the city, senior BJP leaders fear that the executive wing of AMC would try to have the upper hand in dealings. “It is Bhatt’s first term as councillor. It will be difficult for him to control the executives. Also, some of the disgruntled councillors will try to create hurdles for him,” said a senior BJP councillor.
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad
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