Bhupendra Patel will continue to remain the chief minister of Gujarat if the Bharatiya Janata Party wins the state Assembly election, Union Home Minister Amit Shah told News18 on Monday.

“If the BJP gets a majority, Bhupendra Patel will be the chief minister,” Shah said in an interview. “There is no question about it.”

Patel took oath as the 17th chief minister of Gujarat on September 13, 2021. He was appointed to the post after his predecessor Vijay Rupani resigned along with his Cabinet.

Gujarat will vote in two phases on December 1 and December 5. The results will be declared on December 8 along with the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.

In the elections, the ruling BJP will seek to fend off challenges from the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party. The Congress has not yet named a chief ministerial candidate. The Aam Aadmi Party has named journalist-turned-politician Isudan Gadhvi as its candidate for the top post.

‘Some poll promises laughable’: Shah

Shah claimed that poll promises made by Opposition parties in Gujarat would entail an expenditure of over Rs 3,52,000 crore, even as the state’s budget was of about Rs 2,42,000 crore, News18 reported.

He urged Opposition parties to clarify where they would get funds for their electoral promises.

“Some promises are laughable, such as those relating to free primary education” Shah said. “Primary education has been free since 1960. What will you provide for free now?”

Both the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party have promised free school education to children in Gujarat.

Shah also sought to make a distinction between welfare schemes for improving the standard of living of citizens and “freebies”. He referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s description of freebies as “revdis”.

A revdi is a sweet made of jaggery and sesame, and the word is sometimes used in Hindi as a metaphor for the distribution of free handouts.

“Providing someone electricity is not revdi, but waiving the electricity bill is,” Shah said. “Giving someone a house is not a revdi, but keeping it tax-free is...Giving a house to someone, gas connection, electricity, Ayushman card, free food grains during Covid times, these are not distribution of freebies, but an attempt to raise the standard of living of the people.”

The Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition filed by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking a ban on promises of “freebies” by political parties.