In a political purge seen as BJP’s most audacious experiment yet, PM Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat on Thursday lived up to its reputation as the saffron party’s laboratory with a “no-repeat” government of 24 new faces, most of them freshers, replacing all 22 ministers from the erstwhile Vijay Rupani cabinet.
The tsunami of transformation capped a frenetic six days for the state, starting with Rupani’s sudden resignation as chief minister last Saturday and the even more surprising elevation of first-time MLA Bhupendra Patel to the top post in the state.
The writing was on the wall for Team Rupani on Wednesday given the no-repeat formula even as most of them spent the day trying to lobby with the state BJP leadership in a last-ditch attempt to save their places. While the swearing-in had to be postponed by a day amid murmurs of discontent, even that rare episode of discord in the party did not alter the central leadership’s resolve to prop up a new team of netas to lead Gujarat into the 2022 polls.
The overhaul is being bandied about as an attempt to wipe out any anti-incumbency sentiment after BJP’s more than two-decade stint in Gujarat. In trying to build BJP’s bulwark against the possibility of voter fatigue, veterans like former deputy CM Nitin Patel, Pradipsinh Jadeja, Saurabh Patel, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Kaushik Patel — each with decades of experience in government — found themselves swept away by the sweeping tides of change.