Senior BJP leader Bhupendra Patel will succeed Vjay Rupani as the chief minister of Gujarat. Patel, the MLA from Ghatlodia seat, was named as CM at the party’s state legislators’ meet on Sunday in the presence of union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Prahlad Joshi who were present as central observers. His name was proposed by Mr Rupani.
“Bhupendra Patel was elected as the new leader of BJP legislative party,” said Tomar.
The new leader will meet the governor and stake claim to form the government, reported news agency PTI. Endorsing the new CM, Mr Rupani said the party will “successfully contest the polls” under his leadership. Elections in Gujarat are due next year.
Known to be a protege of former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, won the 2017 Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections from Ghatlodia constituency, defeating Congress candidate Shashikant Patel. He holds a diploma in civil engineering and is considered close to former CM Anandiben Patel, who won from the seat in 2012 polls. He has also served as the chairman of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) and also led the Standing Committee of Amdavad Municipal Corporation (AMC).
The 55-year-old belongs to Patidar community, which the BJP was reportedly keen to pick a patidar candidate to get the caste arithmetic right ahead of polls. According to reports, Patel’s name was not in the long list of contenders being discussed in state political circles. Dy CM Nitin Patel, union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Lakshadweep administrator Praful Patel were reportedly in the fray for the top role.
Earlier on Saturday, Rupani stepped down from his post and submitted his resignation letter to state governor Acharya Devvrat at Raj Bhavan. The BJP leader had replaced Anandiben Patel as state CM on August 7, 2016. Rupani was sworn in as the Chief Minister for the second time on 26 December 2017 after his party won a majority in Gujarat by winning 99 out of 182 seats.