Gandhinagar: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vijay Rupani was on Sunday sworn in as the Chief Minister of Gujarat in Gandhinagar.
60-year-old Rupani took oath at the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar today. BJP party chief Amit Shah extended his greeting on Twitter to Rupani for taking over as Gujarat Chief Minister. Earlier today, party senior leader LK Advani and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arrived in Ahmedabad to attend Rupani’s oath taking ceremony in Gandhinagar.
On Saturday, Rupani had met Governor OP Kohli and staked claim to form the government, a day after he was elected by BJP legislators to succeed Anandiben Patel, with the central leadership playing a vital role in the choice. After the meeting with the Governor, BJP state in-charge Dinesh Sharma said Rupani will take oath tomorrow at 12.40 PM.
While Rupani was accompanied by Deputy CM designate Nitin Patel and other state leaders, outgoing Chief Minister Anandiben Patel was conspicous by her absence. “We have told the Governor that the BJP Legislature party has endorsed the names of Vijay Rupani as new Chief Minister and Nitin Patel as Deputy Chief Minister,” Sharma said after the meeting. “The Governor has given his go ahead for the oath taking ceremony which will be held tomorrow at 12.40 PM,” he said.
In a dramatic turnaround the BJP central leadership had decided on Rupani, an Amit Shah loyalist and state party chief, to replace Anandiben as the chief minister, instead of Nitin Patel who was the front-runner till the last moment. Anandiben had insisted on Nitin Patel as her successor, while Shah stood firm by Rupani.
As a compromise formula, Patel was elevated to be Deputy Chief Minister after intervention of the central leadership, including Modi. Selection of Rupani, who belongs to Jain Baniya community, is being seen as a deft move by the party to avoid the impression of favouring any major segment of the society over others.
While the Patel community has been on a warpath with their demand for OBC quota, the state has witnessed Dalit unrest over the widely condemned Una flogging incident which seems to have dented the image of the government.
Rupani, who came up through the RSS, is being assigned the task of leading BJP in the polls at a time when BJP is struggling to retain its political base. The party has also been affected by the absence of leaders of Modi’s calibre in the state.