Modi minister’s husband won’t join AAP under ‘family pressure’

Ahmedabad

Mafatbhai Patel, the estranged husband of Gujarat revenue minister Anandiben Patel, who had on January 3 publicly announced to join Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), creating ripples in the state BJP, has postponed his decision under family pressure.

A former college professor, 77-year-old Patel said that after his statements appeared in newspapers and were telecast by local TV news channels, pressure built up on him from his family, including his son and daughter, to defer the decision at least for now.

"My son and daughter approached me. They said that APP is a good party, their agenda is also good and in the national interest. But my joining AAP will send a wrong message to the society as my wife —Anandi — is a minister," Patel said.

"My children told me that I am the head of the family and the decision to join AAP will go against the family," he added.

"I was also told by my children that Anandi is a senior minister and her performance has also been very good. She has the chance to become Chief Minister in the event of Narendra Modi moving to Delhi if the BJP comes to power in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections," Patel, who represented the BJP in Ahmedabad Zilla Panchayat for two decades between 1980 and 2000, said.

"My children told me that my decision to join AAP at this juncture would harm Anandi's chance to become the chief minister.

And that is why I have decided to delay my joining AAP," he clarified.

In an exclusive interview to this newspaper, he had declared to join AAP on January 6. AAP Gujarat convener Sukhdel Patel, when asked for his comment on the development, said: "We had not approached Mafatbhai Patel to join AAP. He had given interviews to local media on his own, announcing his decision to join AAP. And, now, if he is backing out under family pressure, it is his own decision and his right as well."

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