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Rediff.com  » News » Vijay Rupani sworn-in as chief minister of Gujarat

Vijay Rupani sworn-in as chief minister of Gujarat

Last updated on: December 26, 2017 21:13 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and chief ministers of various BJP-ruled states attended the ceremony. 

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah along with new CM Vijay Rupani at the swearing-in ceremony of new Gujarat government at Gandhinagar. Photograph: Santosh Hirlekar/PTI Photo 

Vijay Rupani on Tuesday took office as Gujarat chief minister for a second straight term, after a hard-won victory over the Congress, at a glittering ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a galaxy of Bharatiya Janata Party leaders but boycotted by the Congress.

Rupani was sworn-in by Governor O P Kohli at the head of a 19-member Council of Ministers.

 

Nitin Patel, who was elected the deputy leader of the BJP legislature party on Friday, was also administered the oath of office and secrecy by Kohli, and would be the deputy chief minister.

IMAGE: Modi and Shah were all smiles at the swearing-in ceremony. Photograph: Santosh Hirlekar/PTI Photo

Prime Minister Modi, who had led the BJP's campaign, in one of the toughest electoral contests for the party in many years, stole the show as he was lustily cheered by the crowds that lined the street leading to the Secretariat ground.

Rupani took oath with nine Cabinet ministers, including Patel, and 10 ministers of state.

Besides Patel, other cabinet ministers are: Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, R C Faldu, Kaushik Patel, Saurabh Patel, Ganpatsinh Vasava, Jayesh Radadiya, Dilip Thakor and Ishwar Parmar.

The MoS who took oath today are: Pradipsinh Jadeja, Parbat Patel, Jaydrathsinh Parmar, Raman Patkar, Parsottam Solanki, Ishwarsinh Patel, Vasan Ahir, Kishor Kanani, Bachubhai Khabad and Vibhavariben Dave.

IMAGE: Modi and Shah along with new CM Vijay Rupani and other state ministers at the ceremony. Photograph: Santosh Hirlekar/PTI Photo 

The Congress, which put up a gallant show, winning 77 seats in the 182-member house, 16 more than the 2012 elections, boycotted the oath-taking ceremony.

Congress spokesman Manish Doshi said some party MLAs were invited to the ceremony but not all. The party decided to boycott the function to protest "arbitrary" extension of invitations, he said.

In attendance were members of the Modi Cabinet, BJP chief Amit Shah, veteran leader L K Advani, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states as also Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who returned to the National Democratic Front fold a few months ago, ending years of hostile relationship with Modi.

Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh, besides Yogi Adityanath, Devendra Fadnavis, and Raman Singh, chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh, respectively attended the function.

IMAGE: The PM shakes hand with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at the swearing-in ceremony. Photograph: Press Information Bureau 

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who had two engagements in Bhopal, did not attend the ceremony but met Rupani at his residence before flying back.

Conspicuous by their presence were two former war horses of the BJP, both Modi baiters -- Keshubhai Patel and Shankarsinh Vaghela.

Loud cheers went up when Modi shook hands with Keshubhai Patel and Vaghela, both former chief ministers of Gujarat. Patel and Vaghela, who once did not see each other eye to eye, sat next to each other on one of the three platforms --- the other two being the main stage and a one for religious leaders.

Both Keshubhai Patel and Vaghela were once considered political adversaries of Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.

IMAGE: PM Modi greets veteran BJP leader LK Advani during the oath-taking ceremony. Photograph: Santosh Hirlekar/PTI Photo 

Vaghela had rebelled against the BJP and pulled down Keshubhai Patel's government in 1990s.

Modi later tweeted, "Attending today's oath taking ceremony in Gujarat brought back memories of the ceremonies in 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2012 when I got the opportunity to serve Gujarat as CM."

"I would once again like to thank the people of Gujarat for giving the BJP this opportunity to serve the state. The bond between Gujarat and BJP is extremely special. I assure my Gujarati sisters and brothers that we will leave no stone unturned in further developing Gujarat," he said in another tweet.

IMAGE: PM Modi takes blessing form a spiritual guru during the ceremony. Photograph: Santosh Hirlekar/PTI Photo 

The BJP tried to strike a balance between various caste and regional aspirations in forming the new council of ministers.

It has six Patidar leaders, six OBCs, three Kshatriyas, two tribals , a dalit, and a Brahmin. Rupani is from the minority Jain community.

Bhavnagar East MLA Vibhavariben Dave is the lone woman in the new ministry.

IMAGE: PM Modi meets Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar,  who returned to the National Democratic Front fold a few months ago. Photograph: Press Information Bureau 

A section of the land-owning Patidar or Patel community, which formed the bedrock of the BJP's support base for years, had deserted the BJP over the quota issue in these elections, with their young leader Hardik Patel backing the Congress.

Seven of the newly inducted ministers hail from the Saurashtra region, where the BJP did not do well because of the disenchantment among the Patels.

Rupani, who was rewarded for his unwavering loyalty to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and proximity to BJP chief Amit Shah, has a tough task on his hand to win back the support of the influential Patels.

IMAGE: Modi meets former Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel. Photograph: Press Information Bureau 

Though he managed to successfully steer the party machinery in the state during the elections, neutralising the incumbency factor and surviving a violent quota stir by the Patels, he will have to smooth the ruffled feathers of the community and also douse discontent in some parts due to farm distress.

The BJP has 99 seats in its kitty in the current assembly, its lowest in a long time.

Rupani will be expected to deliver Gujarat to the BJP in the 2019 general elections when Modi has a second shot at power at the Centre.

IMAGE: Loud cheers went up when Modi shook hands with Shankarsinh Vaghela, a former Modi baiter. Photograph: Press Information Bureau 
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