In a big surprise from the BJP, the party has named Vijay Rupani as the new chief minister of Gujarat. Nitin Patel will be the Deputy chief minister of the state. It was widely expected that Nitin Patel would be the new Gujarat CM, and this last-minute change from the BJP has taken everyone by surprise. Earlier, Nitin Patel in a TV interview had also spoken extensively of his plans for the state when he takes charge. The change in decision is being seen as a move by BJP President Amit Shah.
Condemning BJP’s move, Hardik Patel, who has aggressively been leading protests against the state government said, “The decision not to name Nitin Patel shows that the BJP is not concerned about our community. This just proves what I have been saying all along.” The need to name a new CM arose after Anandiben Patel, in a Facebook post, announced her inclination to retire from her post. Anandiben Patel submitted her resignation earlier this week, saying that she would like to retire after touching the age of 75. However, Anandiben Patel’s decision was seen in political circles as a move to stem anti-incumbency movement in the state, with recent Dalit and Patel protests, challenging the BJP government. Gujarat is headed for assembly polls in 2017.
Vijay Rupani started his political career as a student activist in the ABVP, and eventually moved to RSS. Rupani became a Gujarat Cabinet minister after Anandiben Patel became CM. He was in charge of the labour and employment, water supply and transport. Rupani belongs to the Jain community.