BJP chief Amit Shah presided over another meeting Saturday evening at the party headquarters in Gandhinagar to decide who would lead the party’s state unit, with Vijay Rupani stepping down to assume his new role as Gujarat chief minister.
A day after he was elected by BJP legislators to succeed Anandiben Patel, Vijay Rupani Saturday met Governor O P Kohli and staked claim to form the government, along with deputy CM designate Nitin Patel. Both will take oath Sunday afternoon at Mahatma Mandir.
As Shah held a meeting at the Gujarat BJP’s head office in Kamalam in the evening to decide on Rupani’s successor, Gujarat assembly speaker Ganpat Vasava resigned from his post amid speculation that he might be inducted in the cabinet or made state president. Party spokesman Bharat Pandya said the name of the new president would be announced soon.
Not only was Anandiben conspicuous by her absence, Nitin Patel was the last member to arrive at senior BJP leader Bhupendrasinh Chudasama’s house in Gandhinagar, where the delegation had assembled to proceed to Raj Bhavan to meet Governor Kohli.
After the “showdown” she had with Shah on Friday at Kamalam over the mandate for the chief ministerial candidate having “changed” at the last minute, Anandiben’s participation in the succeeding events was less likely. Anandiben had insisted on Nitin Patel as her successor, while Shah stood by Rupani. There were reports that she was moving out of the chief minister’s official residence.
Gujarat BJP in-charge Dinesh Sharma, Union Minister Parshottam Rupala and others accompanied CM-designate Rupani and his deputy Nitin Patel when they met the Governor and staked claim to form the new government.
At Raj Bhavan, Governor Kohli welcomed Rupani and Patel and later, Dinesh Sharma announced that the swearing-in ceremony will be held at Mahatma Mandir at Gandhinagar at 12.40 pm.
Asked why Anandiben was not part of the delegation, Sharma said, “She was there when she came to give the resignation. Today, those who have been chosen are present.”
Sharma refuted the charge that Nitin Patel arrived late to be part of the delegation. “The meeting with the Governor was at 11.45 am. I think he came at 11.35. That cannot be described as late,” Sharma said.
Mohanbhai Kundariya, a former Union minister who was dropped in the reshuffle, is a frontrunner for the party chief’s post, party sources said.