Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani today resigned from the post, shocking many. With Rupani vacating the state’s top post, names of some key political leaders have started doing rounds as his successor. The BJP is likely to hold a meeting of the legislature party tomorrow where the elected MLAs will formally choose a new CM. The names which are doing rounds also include Union Cabinet Ministers from the state but it will be interesting to see whom the BJP leadership picks ahead of the next year’s assembly election. Check out the list of some key leaders:
Nitin Patel: Current Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat, Nitin Patel’s name is on the top of the list. Patel was even a top contender in 2016 when Rupani had replaced Anandiben Patel. The 65-year-old leader and two-time legislator may emerge as the party high command’s choice given the next year’s assembly elections. With Patel, the ruling party will aim to get back the support of the Patidar community. Patel has been associated with the BJP for more than 30 years. He is currently an MLA from the Mahesana constituency.
Mansukh Mandaviya: The current Union Health Minister is also said to be in the race. Mandaviya was recently elevated as cabinet minister when Prime Minister Narendra Modi reshuffled his cabinet. PM Modi has praised Mandaviya on many occasions. Born and brought up in Gujarat, Mandaviya was also elected as an MLA in Gujarat between 2002 and 2007.
Parushottam Rupala: Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parushottam Rupala is also said to be in the race for the CM post. A three-time former Gujarat MLA, Rupala has served the BJP for over 30 years. He is currently 66 and has been elected to the Rajya Sabha for the third time.
CR Patil: Patil is a unique contender in the list because he was not born in Gujarat, unlike the other three probables. He was born in Edlabad of Maharashtra. He joined the BJP in 1989 and rose up the ladder in Gujarat. He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 2009. A three-time Lok Sabha MP, Patil was made Gujarat BJP chief in 2020 and said to be at odds with Rupani. If BJP picks Patil, it will be a new experiment for the party in the state when a leader born outside the state will be made a CM.
While the BJP is known for picking up a dark horse, of these four leaders, only Nitin Patel is an MLA while the other three are either members of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. If any of the three MPs are picked as the next Gujarat CM, they will have six-month to get elected to the state assembly.