Updated: October 9, 2021 8:45:25 am
FORMER chief minister Vijay Rupani Friday said it was difficult to match the standards of Narendra Modi’s reign as Gujarat chief minister. Modi is a source of energy and it is difficult to race him, Rupani said, before adding that during his five years in office, he worked honestly while never allowing power to get to his head.
“Je vaat hamna koike kari ti ke agau Narendrabhai mukhyamantri hoy ane pachhi aapne kam karvanu hoy to aghru hoy chhe karn ke narendrabhai shakti no srot chhe. Ane tyare apne eni sathe dodvanu hoy. Pan me tyarey pan kidhu hatu ke aa to Vikramdityanu sinhasan chhe. Ana upar je bese a imandari na pathe cheley to rasta aapoaap nikle. Ane ey drashtithi uttamthi sarvottam Gujaratne banavavu tena matena prayatno karya chhe (It is difficult to work in the wake of Narendra Modi’s term as chief minister because he is a source of energy and we are supposed to race with him. But I have said this earlier, too; this is the throne of Vikramaditya (the mythical king of Malva). If the one who sits on it works with honesty, he automatically finds ways. From that perspective, (I) made efforts to convert the best Gujarat into the best of all,” Rupani said.
The former CM was addressing a public meeting organised by his supporters and prominent residents of Rajkot to felicitate him for his five years as the CM of the state. Education Minister Jitu Vaghani, former Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala, local BJP MLAs, Rajkot MP Mohan Kundariya, and Rajya Sabha MP Rambhai Mokariya were among those who were present at the public felicitation organised at Pramukh Swami Hall in BAPS Swaminarayan Temple on Kalavada Road.
Rupani, a Rajkot resident, was sworn in as the chief minister of Gujarat for the first time in August 2016 after then CM Anandiben Patel resigned. Rupani had taken oath as CM again after the BJP retained power in the state by winning the Assembly election in 2017. However, following intervention from the BJP high command, he resigned on September 11.
On Friday, he reiterated that he resigned within a fraction of a second after being asked to do so. He remained a common man while also occupying the top office of the state, Rupani asserted. He said he never ever had dreamt of becoming a CM.
“In the initial days of my (political) career, I never expected to get any position. Nor did I ever dream to become a chief minister. Vajubhai used to contest elections and I used to act as his dummy candidate. Often, I would be made election in-charge of Vajubhai. Once, I had even told Anju (wife Anjali Rupani) that in this lifetime, there is no luck to find a seat in the Assembly house and therefore, we have to put that subject to rest and work in the party organisation and perform whatever responsibility the party assigns,” said Rupani.
He said he never pleaded for any position. “But as they say, when you become resigned about something, that thing comes calling you. It so happened that Vajubhai became governor and I had the occasion to contest Assembly elections. After becoming an MLA, I became the state president (of the BJP), then a minister, and ultimately the chief minister. But the bottom line remains that I never dreamt to become CM. Nor did I ever plead for any other position,” said the 66-year-old politician.
Rupani said that he worked hard to weed out corruption during his tenure by taking a number of services online. He said he was happy that during his reign, the SAUNI project neared its completion and water scarcity would become a thing of the past in Saurashtra. He also said he was satisfied his government removed a provision that made a widow ineligible for government pension when her son turns 18. “A widow is a widow, after all. I wish the Almighty does not subject to such pain as hers even to the enemy. Thanks to the removal of that provision, instead of (the previous) 1.25 lakh widows, 10 lakh get benefits of widow pension,” he said.
Rupani said he served as CM for five years, a period, which he said, was enough and thanked the BJP for giving him opportunities to hold positions ranging from Rajkot mayor to CM of the state and that he always worked with sincerity. “I sat in the chair thinking it’s a responsibility and that I was there to serve. I never allowed the power to get to my head,” said the former CM who is an MLA from Rajkot (West) seat.
Addressing the gathering, Vala said Rupani was probably the first CM who was being accorded such felicitation after demitting the top office. That spoke about the character and values of Rupani, he said.
“Rupani remains an elder to us and we will continue to tap from his experience,” said Vaghani.
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