Vijay Rupani stakes claim to form government in Gujarat

RSTV Bureau
Gandhinagar: New elected Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani seeks blessings of BJP President Amit Shah as Dy CM Nitin Patel looks on, after their meeting at Gujarat BJP headquarters 'Kamlam' at Gandhinagar on Friday. PTI Photo

Gandhinagar: New elected Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani seeks blessings of BJP President Amit Shah as Dy CM Nitin Patel looks on, after their meeting at Gujarat BJP headquarters ‘Kamlam’ at Gandhinagar on Friday. PTI Photo

Chief Minister designate Vijay Rupani met Gujarat Governor OP Kohli on Saturday morning to stake claim to form the new government in the state. This comes a day after Rupani was elected by BJP MLAs as their leader to replace Anandiben Patel.

Rupani will now formally take oath on Sunday afternoon, said, BJP state in-charge Dinesh Sharma.

“We have told the Governor that the BJP Legislature has endorsed the names of Vijay Rupani as new Chief Minister and Nitin Patel as Deputy Chief Minister,” Sharma said after the meeting the Governor.

“The Governor has given his go ahead for the oath taking ceremony which will be held tomorrow at 12.40 PM,” Sharma added.

On Friday, in a dramatic turnaround the BJP central leadership selected Rupani to replace Anandiben as the chief minister of the state, instead of Nitin Patel who was front-runner for the post until the last moment.

The Legislature party meeting was delayed by about two hours due to jostling between the groups of party President Amit Shah and incumbent Chief Minister Anandiben.

Sources say Anandiben had insisted that her confidante Nitin Patel should be made the chief minister of the state, while Shah was firmly keen on his nominee Rupani for the top post.

As a compromise formula, Rupani was made the Chief Minister, while Patel was declared as Deputy Chief Minister after intervention of central BJP leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier, the BJP had rebuffed speculations of Amit Shah taking over as the Chief Minister of his home state. Instead the party leaders announced that the BJP “needs” him more at the national level.

Anandiben Patel, who will turn 75 in November, hung her boots on August 1, citing her age — BJP’s undeclared cut-off mark — as the reason behind her decision to quit.

Incidentally, her decision to resign came at a time when the ruling party was faced with heat over the Dalit unrest and Patidar agitation in its stronghold for years.

“I am asking the party to relieve me two months in advance as the new chief minister will require the time to work, when the state is going to face elections in 2017 and an important event like Vibrant Gujarat Summit to be held in January,” she had said announcing her decision to quit.

(With inputs from PTI)