Bhupendra Patel takes over as 17th Gujarat CM

Bhupendra Patel takes oath as new Chief Minister of Gujarat administered by Governor Acharya Devvrat during a swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar. (UNI)
Bhupendra Patel takes oath as new Chief Minister of Gujarat administered by Governor Acharya Devvrat during a swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar. (UNI)

GANDHINAGAR, Sept 13: First-term MLA Bhupendra Patel was on Monday sworn in Gujarat chief minister, two days after Vijay Rupani’s surprise exit from the post, a year ahead of the Assembly polls.
Patel (59), unanimously elected BJP legislature party leader on Sunday, was sworn in as the state’s 17th chief minister by Governor Acharya Devvrat at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Goa CM Pramod Sawant and Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai were present. Devvrat and Shah congratulated Patel after the ceremony.
Shah was the first to congratulate Patel after he took the oath. Patel’s predecessor Vijay Rupani and former deputy chief minister Nitin Patel were among those present at the ceremony.
As decided by the party, only Patel took the oath. The council of ministers will take oath during the next few days after their names are finalised, BJP sources said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Patel on taking the oath as CM of Gujarat. “Congratulations to Bhupendra Bhai on taking oath as CM of Gujarat.
I have known him for years and have seen his exemplary work, be it in the BJP Organisation or in civic administration and community service. He will certainly enrich Gujarat’s growth trajectory,” he tweeted.
“During his five years as CM, Vijay Rupani Ji has undertaken many people-friendly measures. He worked tirelessly for all sections of society. I am certain he will continue to contribute to public service in the times to come,” Modi added.
The Governor on Sunday invited Patel to take oath as CM after accepting the proposal of the new BJP legislature party leader to form the Government.
At Sunday’s legislature party meeting, the proposal to elect Patel the legislative party leader was moved by Rupani, whose resignation as CM on Saturday, 15 months ahead of the Assembly polls, surprised many political observers.
Rupani, the fourth Chief Minister to demit office in BJP-ruled states during the coronavirus pandemic, was sworn in as chief minister – his second stint as CM – in December 2017 and completed five years in office on August 7 this year.
With State Assembly polls scheduled in December 2022, the BJP is banking on Patel, a Patidar, for poll victory. In the 2017 Assembly elections, BJP won 99 of the 182 seats and Congress got 77.
The Patidars are a dominant caste in Gujarat with a sizeable control over the electoral votes and dominate the political economy with a stronghold over education, realty and cooperative sectors. Patel’s elevation – he is the first from the Patidar sub-group to be Chief Minister – is key to BJP’s plans to woo the Kadva Patidar community, which some political observers feel, has drifted away from the party.
He is a trustee of Sardardham, the Patidar community organisation that hosted the programme where Modi was the chief guest on Saturday. Born in Ahmedabad, Patel is an MLA from the Ghatlodia seat, previously held by former chief minister and now Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel. (PTI)