Rupani Remains Gujarat CM

As many as 99 BJP MLAs in Gujarat elected Vijay Rupani as the chief minister of the state with Nitin Patel as his deputy.

The decision was taken at a meeting held in the BJP headquarters on the outskirts of Gandhinagar in the presence of central observers, including Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, Saroj Pandey and BJP Gujarat in-charge Bhupendra Yadav.

Speaking to the media later, Jaitley said the names were proposed by senior BJP MLA Bhupendrasinh Chudasma and was unanimously accepted by the MLAs.

Meanwhile, BJP’s strength in the assembly that had gone down to double digit grew back to triple digits with independent MLA from Lunawada, Ratansinh Rathod supporting the party unconditionally.

Though the BJP retained power in the key western state for a record sixth straight term, there was speculation about Rupani’s continuance due to the party’s narrow victory over challenger Congress.

The BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly, the first time its tally slipped below hundred since 1995, while the Congress clocked its best in many years clinching 77. Together with its allies, the Congress has the backing of 80 MLAs.

BJP national president Amit Shah for the records at the onset of the election campaign had stated that the party will continue with Rupani and Nitin Patel at the helm in government post-election. However, the erosion of seats had set speculations abuzz with a possible change.

A Jain Bania by caste, Rupani is neutral to the caste arithmetic that had significant role in election results in the state recently and party insiders maintained that changing Rupani at this point would have given out a wrong signal, as the party is trying to portray the victory as a major success in the face of 22 years of incumbency.

Rupani will now make a claim for forming the next government to Governor OP Kohli, who had dissolved the government on Wednesday and had asked Rupani to continue as the caretaker chief minister till the next government swears in.

While the party is yet to announce the date for swearing -in of the next government, it is expected that the swearing -in will be held on December 25, the birthday of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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