Ghatlodia MLA Bhupendra Patel was sworn in as the 17th Chief Minister of Gujarat on Monday at an event in Raj Bhavan that barely lasted 10 minutes.
Among Patel’s first executive actions — taken even before the swearing-in ceremony — was to direct the Jamnagar district collector to airlift around 35 people stranded after heavy rains led to flooding in three villages.
Among those who attended Monday’s function at Raj Bhavan and sat on the dais included Union ministers Amit Shah, Mansukh Mandaviya, Prahlad Joshi, Narendra Singh Tomar, Parshottam Rupala, Mahendra Munjapara and Darshana Jardosh. Also in attendance were Central BJP leaders B L Santhosh and Tarun Chugh, and the Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Goa and Karnataka. Gujarat BJP chief C R Paatil and Speaker of Gujarat Assembly, Rajendra Trivedi, were also on the dais. The family members of the newly appointed Chief Minister sat in the front row of the audience.
Shah led the new Chief Minister, outgoing chief minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy CM Nitin Patel onto the stage.
Pankaj Kumar, the newly appointed Chief Secretary of Gujarat, managed the proceedings on the stage as Governor Acharya Devvrat administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new Chief Minister in Gujarati. Patel will be the fifth Patidar CM of Gujarat and the third of the BJP.
After he was sworn in, a little after 2 pm, the new CM was greeted by leaders on the dais with flower bouquets wrapped in bright orange paper.
Before the swearing-in ceremony, CM Patel had visited Rupani and Nitin Patel at their residences.
Rupani, to a question on Opposition allegations of shortcomings in his government, said, “There has been no shortcoming. But I want to say that such a smooth changeover is only possible in the BJP. It would not have been possible in the Opposition.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Patel on Twitter, saying, “I have known him for years and have seen his exemplary work, be it in the BJP organisation or in civic administration and community service. He will certainly enrich Gujarat’s growth trajectory.”
In another tweet, PM Modi praised Rupani’s five-year tenure and said, “During his five years as CM, Vijay Rupani Ji has undertaken many people-friendly measures. He worked tirelessly for all sections of society. I am certain he will continue to contribute to public service in the times to come.”
Later, in an interaction with the media, Rupani said, “ I hope that [Bhupendra Patel] walks further ahead on the path of development laid out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Under his leadership, we will win the upcoming elections (for Gujarat Assembly).” He added that he has extended his help and guidance to the new CM.
When asked about his future course of action, Rupani said, “I will do whatever responsibilities the party entrusts me with. From the very beginning, I have always been a worker… I am connected with the people as a party worker. I am still a CM — a ‘Common Man’ and as a common man, I will connect with everyone.”
On Sunday, Bhupendra Patel – a first-time MLA from Ghatlodia constituency of Ahmedabad city — was elected Gujarat BJP’s legislature party leader in a meeting held at the party state headquarters, Shree Kamalam.
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