BJP legislature party meeting underway; new CM for Gujarat likely to be elected

September 12, 2021 0 Comments

Among the names doing the rounds for the post include Nitin Patel, Mansukh Mandaviya, Praful Patel and R.C. Faldu.

Gujarat BJP legislature party meeting is underway at the party headquarters in Gandhinagar to elect a new leader to replace Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, following his sudden resignation on September 11.

The party high command has deputed two Central observers Narendra Singh Tomar and Pralhad Joshi who will conduct the legislature party meeting in which a new leader will be elected to the Chief Minister’s post.

According to party sources, the new Chief Minister along with the Council of Ministers is likely to be sworn in on Monday.

Also read: Analysis | Vijay Rupani’s exit underlines high command control in BJP

On Saturday, Mr. Rupani suddenly submitted his resignation along with his Council of Ministers, paving the way for a long expected change of guard in the State.

Among the names doing the rounds as likely replacement for Mr. Rupani are outgoing Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Administrator of Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep Praful Patel and outgoing Cabinet Minister and former State party chief R.C. Faldu.

The State BJP president C.R. Patil’s name also figured among the probables but in a video statement he ruled himself out stating that he was not a Chief Ministerial candidate.

Patidar face

There is a strong buzz in the party about a likely Patidar face as the new Chief Minister before the next year’s Assembly election. All top contenders, including Mr. Mandavia and Mr. Faldu, are from the Patidar community.

In Gujarat, the Patidars are a dominant caste having a sizeable control over the political economy with its hold over the lucrative cooperative sector, education, realty and construction and small and medium enterprises.

The Patidars form the backbone of the BJP in Gujarat as the party’s first Chief Minister in 1995 when it came to power for the first time was Keshubhai Patel, a Patidar leader from Saurashtra region.

However, there is also another theory that the new Chief Minister could be from OBC community but there is no prominent leader in the party who could be chosen for the post ahead of the crucial elections next year.

Insiders in the party contend that the high command wants to go to the electorate with a fresh face in order to dilute the anti-incumbency factor after the pandemic in which the State administration under Mr. Rupani often floundered and did not perform as per the high command’s expectations.

Also read: Rupani’s soft-spoken image may have been his undoing, say observers

“We don’t know the name as yet but what appears certain is that a Patidar leader will most probably be the next CM,” a State leader told The Hindu, adding that with a Patidar at the helm, the party will renew its strong tie with the community ahead of the Assembly poll.

In the last Assembly election held in December 2017, the ruling BJP could barely win a simple majority with 99 out of 182 seats.

Meanwhile, besides the Chief Minister, the ruling party is likely to make massive changes in the Cabinet with over half a dozen top members of the outgoing Cabinet likely be dropped in order to infuse new blood in the government.

“Most of the top Cabinet Ministers will be out,” a source in the party said. Those likely to be axed include Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel, Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, and Power Minister Saurabh Patel.


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