Vijay Rupani sworn in as 16th Chief Minister of Gujarat: New Council of Ministers takes oath in Gandhinagar

Led by Vijay Ramnik Rupani and his deputy Nitin Patel, the new Bharatiya Janata Party government in Gujarat took the oath of secrecy on Tuesday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah at the new secretariat in Gandhinagar.

FP Politics December 26, 2017 15:07:05 IST
Vijay Rupani sworn in as 16th Chief Minister of Gujarat: New Council of Ministers takes oath in Gandhinagar

Led by Vijay Ramnik Rupani and his deputy Nitin Patel, the new Bharatiya Janata Party government in Gujarat took the oath of office and secrecy on Tuesday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah at the new secretariat in Gandhinagar.

This is Rupani's second consecutive term as chief minister and the 61-year-old is the 14th chief minister of the state. A total of eight cabinet ministers and 10 ministers of state took oath on Monday.

The newly-elected cabinet was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor OP Kohli at a grand ceremony. Modi, Shah and chief ministers of various BJP-ruled states attended the ceremony. Before the swearing-in ceremony, Rupani, sporting an orange-coloured jacket, and Patel greeted the chief ministers of BJP-ruled states who came to attend the ceremony. Rupani and his wife also offered prayers at the Panchdev Mahadev temple here before the swearing-in ceremony. Rupani and Patel were elected as the leader and deputy leader, respectively, of the BJP legislature party at its meeting on 22 December.

Former state BJP president RC Faldu, a Patidar leader; sitting education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama; former industries Saurabh Patel; tribal leader and senior BJP leader Ganpat Vasava; Jayesh, son of BJP leader Vitthalbhai Radadiya; Pradipsinh Jadeja; Ishwarbhai Parma; Puroshottam Solanki, the incumbent fisheries minister and Bhavnagar strongman are among the few who took oath as cabinet ministers on Tuesday.

Vibhavari Dave, the only woman and also the lone Brahmin face in the cabinet is a key leader from Saurashtra region. She is a three-term MLA too.

With 99 MLAs, the BJP has a simple majority in the 182-member Assembly, 16 less than its 2012 tally of 115. the Opposition Congress that had won 61 seats in 2012, managed to increase its tally to 77. The strength of the Congress and its allies in the new House is 80.

Who's who of BJP descended on Gandhinagar

Starting with the prime minister and the BJP chief, chief ministers of all NDA-ruled states were invited for the swearing-in ceremony. That apart, senior BJP leader LK Advani and senior ministers of the Union council attended the ceremony.

Former Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela was also present at the ceremony.

Shah arrived in Ahmedabad last night.

Modi, however, reached on Tuesday morning and amid rousing celebrations, had a road show of his own en route the venue of the ceremony.

Picking Gujarat chief minister

Describing the process of the election, Jaitley said that the MLAs were called upon to propose a name. Following the decision, Rupani lauded BJP's victory and said that Gujarat has rejected Congress' divisive politics. Both, Rupani and Patel, were elected unopposed at a meeting of the BJP legislators in the presence of central observers-Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and party general secretary Saroj Pandey.

"A proposal to elect Rupani as the leader of the state BJP legislature party and Nitin Patel as the deputy leader of the legislature party has been adopted," Jaitley told a press conference. Though the BJP retained power in the key western state for a record sixth straight term, there was speculation over whether Rupani would continue to hold the post given the party's narrow victory.

Vijay Rupani sworn in as 16th Chief Minister of Gujarat New Council of Ministers takes oath in Gandhinagar

Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani at temple seeking blessing before the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. Twitter/@vijayrupanibjp

Why Vijay Rupani?

Rupani's proximity to the top party leadership, his clean and caste neutral image apparently tilted the scales in his favour.

Jaitley had said the central observers asked the MLAs for names for the posts of the leader and deputy leader of the legislature party, and one of them — Bhupendra Sinh Chudasama — suggested Rupani and Patel. Five other MLAs backed Chudasama's proposal.

Vijay Rupani sworn in as 16th Chief Minister of Gujarat New Council of Ministers takes oath in Gandhinagar

The Union minister said he asked the MLAs to come up with more names for the two top posts, but as nobody came forward, Rupani and Patel were declared elected as the leader and deputy leader of the legislature party.

Rupani was made the chief minister in August last year after his predecessor Anandiben Patel resigned in the wake of the growing Dalit unrest in the state after the Una flogging incident a month earlier, and the Patidar quota agitation, which had begun on a violent note in 2015.

Rupani, who successfully staved off a spirited challenge from the Congress, overcoming the incumbency factor, farm distress, angst and anger over demonetisation and GST in the state with a large population of traders, will have to show his political sinews and sagacity when Narendra Modi makes a bid for another term in 2019.

Delivering Gujarat to the BJP is the least Modi will expect from him.

After his election, Rupani said although over 49 per cent vote share in the Assembly polls was a "huge achievement" for the BJP in Gujarat, the party would analyse its defeat in districts like Amreli, Gir-Somnath and Morbi, where it lost a majority of seats.

"We will do an analysis of our defeat in districts where we won fewer seats. We will also interact with the local people (to understand the reasons for it)," he said, adding the government will work for all sections without discrimination. Nitin Patel said the government will take forward its development agenda.

With inputs from agencies

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