GANDHINAGAR – Vijay Rupani will continue as Gujarat Chief Minister, aided by Nitin Patel as his deputy, the central observer team of the BJP announced on Friday, ending the suspense of who will lead the government.
Rupani, who had been appointed as Chief Minister on August 7, 2016, after Anandiben Patel was removed from the post, was selected by the newly-elected legislators who met under the central observer team on Friday at the Gujarat BJP headquarters ‘Shree Kamalam’. The observer team comprised of union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Saroj Pandey.
Rupani’s selection could also be with an eye on the 2019 general elections that are just 18 months away, and the party didn’t want to take a risk by bringing in any new face which could halt the ongoing works and development.
There were other faces in the fray for the coveted post of the 17th Chief Minister like union ministers representing Gujarat at the Centre. But those were not considered looking at the ongoing works and the 2019 general elections, party insiders said.
A source said that Rupani is an acceptable face of the party and under his leadership the BJP has done well, especially in his home district constituencies.
The swearing-in ceremony is likely to be held on Christmas Day, on the Sabarmati Riverfront.
On Tuesday, the Chief Secretary of Gujarat, J.N. Singh visited the place and also other possible venue like the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad and the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.
Born on August 2, 1956 in Rangoon, (now in Myanmar), Rupani became active in politics through his debut as Rajkot Mayor in 1987. He has been associated with the Jan Sangh and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and with the BJP since its inception. He took the lead in Saurashtra in the JP campaign. Rupani was also jailed during the Emergency.