Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani resigned from his post on Saturday afternoon.

Responding to questions about the reasons behind his resignation, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said that he had been the chief minister for five years, which was a long time. He added that he was thankful to the BJP leadership for giving him the opportunity to serve as the chief minister, reported The Times of India.

Among those being considered as frontrunners for the chief minister’s post are Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Union fisheries minister Parshottam Rupala, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and state agriculture minister RC Faldu, according to media reports.

Mandaviya and Patel visited the BJP office in Gandhinagar after Rupani’s resignation, ANI reported.

Meanwhile, Rupani told mediapersons that he will continue to work under the leadership of BJP national president JP Nadda.

He added that he had the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi throughout his term, according to NDTV. “Under his [Modi’s] guidance, Gujarat’s progress has touched new highs,” Rupani said. I am grateful to the honourable prime minister for the opportunity to contribute to the state’s development.”

Rupani described the BJP as a party of organisation and ideology, and said that it has been the party’s tradition that responsibilities given to workers keep changing. “All party workers fulfil whatever responsibility they get with utmost devotion,” he said.

The Gujarat Cabinet also resigned shortly after the chief minister stepped down from his post, according to NDTV. Now, the BJP can either appoint a new chief minister and Cabinet or allow the imposition of President’s Rule or advance the Assembly elections.

President’s Rule is imposed if a state legislature is not able to elect any person as the chief minister.

Rupani’s resignation comes ahead of the Assembly elections in Gujarat, which are expected to be held in December 2022.

Rupani first became the Gujarat chief minister on August 7, 2016, when he replaced Anandiben Patel. He was later sworn in again as the chief minister on December 26, 2017 after the state Assembly elections.

He was the only BJP chief minister of Gujarat, after Narendra Modi, to have held the post for over five years, according to India Today.

Rupani has now become the fourth BJP chief minister to resign from his post this year. On July 26, BS Yediyurappa resigned as the Karnataka chief minister, while on July 3, Tirath Singh Rawat quit as the Uttarakhand chief minister.

Tirath Singh Rawat had submitted his resignation less than four months after taking over the post. His predecessor, Trivendra Singh Rawat had resigned on March 9.

The change of guard in Uttarakhand assumed particular importance as Assembly elections in the state are scheduled to be held in February or March 2022.