On Monday afternoon, Bhupendra Patel was sworn in as the 17th Chief Minister of Gujarat, less than two days after Vijay Rupani's surprise exit. Union Home Minister Amit Shah as well as the Chief Ministers of BJP ruled states, including Haryana's Manohar Lal Khattar, Madhya Pradesh's Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Goa's Pramod Sawant were present at the ceremony.
It is believed that Patel holds a strong influence in the Patidar community in Gujarat which the BJP has banked upon to win the upcoming elections. Fondly addressed as 'Dada' by his supporters, Bhupendrabhai Rajnikanthbhai Patel is a first time MLA from the Ghatlodia seat. He had won by a margin of 1,17,000 votes in 2017, the largest margin in that poll defeating Congress candidate Shashikant Patel.
The announcement of the 59-year-old BJP leader's name as the Chief Minister-elect at a legislative party meeting of the BJP on Sunday came as a surprise for many as the low-profile MLA was not seen to be among the top contenders for the post. Patel is, however, not a new face in politics and has served as the Ahmedabad municipal councillor.
"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," tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the ceremony. According to reports, he had on Sunday called Patel to congratulate him.
"Hearty congratulations to Shri Bhupendra Patel ji on taking oath as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. I am sure that under the leadership of @narendramodi ji, you will take the development journey of Gujarat to new heights by working with full devotion and dedication for the welfare of the poor, farmers and deprived sections of the state," read a rough translation of the Hindi congratulatory tweet shared by the Home Minister.
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(With inputs from agencies)