Bharatiya Janata Party leader Bhupendra Patel on Monday took oath as the 17th chief minister of Gujarat. Patel was appointed to the top post on Sunday, a day after Vijay Rupani and his entire Cabinet resigned.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other BJP leaders such as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan attended Patel’s oath-taking ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar.
Patel, 59, is a first-time MLA who won the Ghatlodia seat in the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections. He defeated Congress candidate Shashikant Patel by more than 1.17 lakh votes, the highest winning margin in the polls. He is from the Kadva sub-group of the Patidar community.
The ministers in Patel’s Cabinet will take oath in the next few days, according to PTI.
Patel was seen as a surprise choice for the top post in Gujarat as there was speculation that either Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya or fisheries minister Parshottam Rupala might be chosen for it, NDTV reported.
Rupani chose Patel for the chief ministerial post at the BJP’s legislature party meeting on Saturday, reported PTI. Patel has never held a minister’s post.
Patel’s elevation came ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls scheduled in December 2022. The newly appointed chief minister belongs to the Patidar community, a case that is dominant in the state.
The new Gujarat chief minister has served as the Ahmedabad municipal councillor. He was also the Standing Committee chairperson of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority chairperson.
BJP’s Gujarat unit chief CR Paatil told PTI that Patel’s work with those at the grassroots and his association with the cooperative sector, and other associations with the party were among the reasons for his elevation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday congratulated Patel, saying that the new chief minister will “certainly enrich Gujarat’s growth trajectory”.
Modi added that he has been a witness to Patel’s “exemplary work”, be it within the party, civic administration or community service.
The prime minister also appreciated outgoing Chief Minister Vijay Rupani for “tirelessly working for all sections of the society”.
“I am certain he will continue to contribute to public service in the times to come,” Modi said in a tweet.
Rupani stepped down from the chief minister’s post on Saturday without giving any reason for the move. The Congress alleged that BJP had made him a “scapegoat” to hide its mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis in Gujarat.
Rupani is the fourth BJP chief minister to resign from his post this year. On July 26, BS Yediyurappa had resigned as the Karnataka chief minister while Tirath Singh Rawat quit as the Uttarakhand chief minister on July 3.
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.