Gandhinagar:Vijay Rupani, 61, will take oath as Gujarat Chief Minister in state capital Gandhinagar at 11 this morning, in a ceremony that will double as a massive show of strength by the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi who landed in Gandhinagar a short while ago, is attending as is party chief Amit Shah and all the BJP’s chief ministers. Key BJP ally Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar will also be attending along with his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi.
PM Modi stood on the floorboard of his car and waved to hundreds of people lining the roads as his convoy made its way from the airport to an open ground near the state secretariat where the oath ceremony will be held.
Mr Rupani, who is expected to take oath along with 19 other ministers, visited the Akshardham temple this morning along with his wife Anjali Rupani. Immediately after Vijay Rupani, Nitin Patel will take oath as deputy chief minister, with the BJP opting to repeat the duo despite a lower margin of victory in Gujarat in the assembly elections, the results for which were announced last week.
Vijay Rupani, close to Amit Shah and a leader with a clean image, was always seen as a frontrunner especially after the BJP chief signalled earlier this year that he would continue as chief minister after the elections. But his chances of being retained to the top post were seen to diminish after the BJP won 99 seats, only seven more than it needed for a majority to form government and 16 less than it had won last time.
The Congress vastly improved its position winning 80 seats along with allies after a campaign focused on local development, and Vijay Rupani’s critics blamed him. But there are those who have pointed out that replacing Vijay Rupani would’ve amounted to an admission that the party has suffered a setback in Gujarat.