The 20 Gujarat ministers sworn in Tuesday are an average 58 years of age, the youngest 36 and the eldest 69. Eight of the 20 including CM Vijay Rupani, 61, are in their 60s and another nine in their 50s, with two 46-year-olds and the 36-year-old completing the list. Five ministers are law graduates and two are engineers, besides four more graduates, while six left school at various stages and three have master’s degrees, including an MBA.
Vibhavari Dave, 58, one of five first-time ministers, is the only woman in the ministry. The Bhavnagar East MLA, who has been the first woman mayor of Bhavnagar, holds a master’s degree in commerce. The other first-timers are R C Faldu, 60, and Ishwarbhai Parmar, 46, both in the 10-member cabinet, and Raman Patkar, 65, and Kishor Kanani, 55, both among the 10 ministers of state.
Faldu, who studied until pre-science (earlier name for SSC), has been associated with the RSS since childhood, and served as the BJP state president, as well as chief whip of the government in the assembly. Parmar, MLA from Bardoli, is a trader who has studied till Class XII and has been president of the BJP’s SC front in Bardoli.
Patkar, MLA from Umergaon (ST), who studied till XI, has been president of at least two school trusts and also served as the chairman of Damanganga Sugar Factory. Kanani, elected from Varaccha Road in Surat, studied till XI and is associated with the textiles sector. Kanani is a Patidar, one of six in the ministry including deputy CM Nitin Patel. Another six belong to various OBC groups while three more are Kshatriyas. The remaining five comprise two tribals, a Scheduled Caste member, a Brahmin and the chief minister, who is a Jain.
According to details on the assembly website, CM Rupani and minister Bhupendra Chudasma hold law degrees, besides ministers of state Parbatbhai Patel, Jaydrathsinhji Parmar and Ishwarsinh Patel. The other graduates are minister Jayesh Radadiya (civil engineering), Parshottam Solanki (electrical), deputy CM Nitin Patel and minister Kaushik Patel (both commerce) and MoS Pradipsinh Jadeja (science) and Bachubahi Khabad (arts).
Apart from MoS Dave, those with master’s degrees are Ganpatbhai Vasava and MoS Saurabh Patel (an MBA), the minister with the highest declared assets at over Rs 123 crore. The six others include four of the first-timers — Faldu (pre-science), Parmar (Class XII), Patkar (XI) and Kanani (XI) — besides minister Dilipkumar Thakor (X) and MoS Vasanbhai Ahir (VIII).