Four days after Gujarat returned BJP to power for a record sixth straight term, Vijay Rupani and Nitin Patel were retained by the party as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, setting at rest speculation on their continuance. The BJP decision was formally announced Friday by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who, along with party leader Saroj Pandey, came to Gandhinagar as observers for the election. This will be the second term for Rupani and Patel.
“Senior legislator Bhupendrasinh Chudasama proposed the names of Vijaybhai Rupani and Nitinbhai Patel as the next Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat. The proposal was seconded by five other members and was unanimously accepted by all elected members,” Jaitley said while briefing the press.
Rupani said, “For us, winning the election with a majority continuously after 22 years was a challenge and we are happy that we got a clear majority.” Nitin Patel too thanked the party leadership and the elected MLAs for choosing him and Rupani as Deputy Chief Minister and Chief Minister respectively.
Rupani said formation of the state cabinet and the date and venue of the swearing-in ceremony would be declared after consulting the Governor. In the assembly elections, the BJP won 99 seats and the Congress 77 in a House of 182.
On Friday, Independent MLA from Lunawada, Ratansinh Rathod, declared his unconditional support to the BJP. Rathod was present at Shree Kamlam, the state BJP headquarters in Gandhinagar where Rupani and Patel were elected by the ruling party MLAs. “I have declared unconditional support to BJP,” Rathod told reporters. “I have given outside support and as of now I have not joined the BJP,” he said.