Bhupendra Patel takes oath as chief minister of Gujarat, succeeds Vijay Rupani

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Updated: September 13, 2021 3:23 PM

The oath of office was administered by Governor Acharya Devvrat in a ceremony which saw the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah 

The oath of office was administered by Governor Acharya Devvrat in a ceremony which saw the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah 

Bhupendra Patel on Monday took oath as the 17th chief minister of Gujarat, succeeding Vijay Rupani who resigned from the post in an unprecedented move on Saturday. The oath of office was administered by Governor Acharya Devvrat in a ceremony which saw the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

CMs of BJP-ruled states, including Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Goa CM Pramod Sawant, were also present in the ceremony.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Patel on being sworn-in as the chief minister of Gujarat, “I’ve known him for years & have seen his exemplary work, be it in the BJP Organisation or in civic administration and community service,” he tweeted.

In another tweet, he thanked Rupani for the work done by him in the state and expressed hope that he will continue to serve the party. “During his five years as CM, Vijay Rupani Ji has undertaken many people-friendly measures. He worked tirelessly for all sections of society. I am certain he will continue to contribute to public service in the times to come. @vijayrupanibjp,” he wrote.

As decided by the party, only Patel took the oath. The council of ministers will take oath during the next few days after their names are finalised, news agency PTI quoted BJP sources as saying.

Rupani also congratulated Patel and said he will continue as a party worker. “I have conveyed my congratulations to him (Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel). I have full faith that under his leadership, the party will move forward, as will the development of the state. Gujarat will become a role model for all states. In the upcoming Assembly polls, BJP will win Gujarat under the leadership of Bhupendra Patel. I will keep on working as a party worker and will follow his (Patel) instructions,” he said.

Patel’s selection for the chief ministerial post came as a surprise amid speculation circling around other names like Union Ministers Mansukh Mandaviya and Parshottam Rupala, and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.

At Sunday’s legislature party meeting, the proposal to elect Patel the legislative party leader was moved by Vijay Rupani, whose resignation as CM on Saturday, 15 months ahead of the Assembly polls, surprised many political observers.

Rupani, the fourth chief minister to demit office in BJP-ruled states during the coronavirus pandemic, was sworn in as chief minister – his second stint as CM – in December 2017 and completed five years in office on August 7 this year.

With state Assembly polls scheduled in December 2022, the BJP is banking on Patel, a Patidar, for poll victory. In the 2017 Assembly elections, BJP won 99 of the 182 seats and Congress got 77. The Patidars are a dominant caste in Gujarat with a sizeable control over the electoral votes and dominate the political economy with a stronghold over education, realty and cooperative sectors.

Patel’s elevation – he is the first from the Patidar sub-group to be chief minister – is key to BJP’s plans to woo the Kadva Patidar community, which some political observers feel, has drifted away from the party.

He is a trustee of Sardardham, the Patidar community organisation that hosted the programme where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest on Saturday.

Born in Ahmedabad, Patel is an MLA from the Ghatlodia seat, previously held by former chief minister and now Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel. He won the seat by over 1.17 lakh votes in 2017, the highest margin in that poll. Ghatlodia is part of the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency represented by Shah.

Patel, who holds a diploma in civil engineering, has served as Ahmedabad municipal councillor and as the chairperson of the Standing Committee of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority. He is also a trustee at Patidar organisation Vishwa Umiya Foundation.

Patel has never held a ministerial post, just like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was never a minister when he became Gujarat CM 20 years ago. Modi was sworn in as CM on October 7, 2001, and became an MLA on February 24, 2002, by winning the Rajkot seat bypoll. Patel is considered close to former Gujarat chief minister and present Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel.

(With inputs from agencies)

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