Incumbent Vijay Rupani will remain the chief minister of Gujarat as as he was elected the leader of the BJP legislature party in the the state, union minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday. The elected MLAs of Gujarat BJP named Vijay Rupani and Nitin Patel as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively. The decision was taken after Jaitley’s meeting with all BJP MLAs. Rupani is close to BJP chief Amit Shah.
“Vijay Rupani was chosen as Legislature party leader unanimously, Nitin Bhai Patel as the deputy Legislature party leader in a meeting today. Will inform you all about the swearing in, soon,” said Jaitley in a press conference in Gandhinagar.
Talking about the selection process, Jaitley said, “The process of electing is that we set process into motion as Central Observers, call upon elected MLAs to propose a name. Bhupendra Singh proposed these two names for the leader and Deputy leader, it was supported by 5 other MLAs who came to the dais and supported them.”
“This was then put to the house which they unanimously accepted. I also asked the members if anybody had any alternative proposal, and since there was none, the two were declared as unanimously elected,” Jaitley added.
Vijay Rupani (Express photo by Javed Raja)Speaking after Jaitley, Nitin Patel promised good governance to the people of Gujarat. “I want to give assurance to Gujarat public that I and Vijay Bhai will continue to work for the people with the help of other party members just like our previous government,” said Patel.
Talking about the poll results, Rupani said, “People have given us mandate for 27 years. It is a huge victory that public has shown faith in us all these years.”
The BJP won 99 seats in the 182-seats-Assembly in Gujarat. The party’s strength, however, now 100 in the assembly as independent MLA Ratansinh Rathod from Lunawada has extended his support. Though the Congress performed its best in many years, winning 77 seats, it could not unseat the BJP, which has been ruling the state for last 23 years.
Amit Shah had earlier said during the party’s poll campaign that the electoral battle will be fought under Rupani’s leadership. Rupani is known to be close to Shah and is seen as caste-neutral, qualities which may tilt the scales in his favour.
With an eye on the 2019 general elections, a section in the party felt that the chief minister must be from the Patel community.
BJP, which was traditionally backed by the Patels, lost in key Patidar bastions in the recently concluded polls. PAAS convener Hardik Patel had actively campaigned in Gujarat, asking the Patidar community to vote out the BJP. The community has been demanding reservations for Patidars in jobs and education.
Celebration outside BJP Office in Gandhinagar after Vijay Rupani gets elected as the Gujarat Chief Minister again, Nitin Bhai Patel as Deputy CM pic.twitter.com/O7guy5WaaX
— ANI (@ANI) December 22, 2017