Nitin Patel, the deputy of Vijay Rupani who resigned as Gujarat chief minister (CM) on Saturday, has told the media that the new state CM will have to be “popular, strong, experienced, and acceptable to all”. Patel himself is a contender for the top post, and an announcement of the new CM is eagerly awaited.
Gujarat’s BJP legislators will meet in the party headquarters at 3 pm in Gandhinagar on Sunday to discuss choosing the next chief minister.
“I am not here to express my personal opinion on the possible name. The exercise to elect the next chief minister is not just a work to fill in a vacancy. Gujarat should get a successful leadership so that the state can develop, keeping all together,” Patel was quoted as saying.
Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister and the BJP’s central observer for Gujarat, told ANI that he will “hold consultations with Gujarat leaders, and then the central leadership will take a decision”.
Joshi was appointed as the central observer for the party in Gujarat along with Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, to solve the crisis in Gujarat and appoint a new CM as soon as possible. Apart from Joshi and Tomar, senior party leaders Bhupendra Yadav, BL Santosh, and BJP National General Secretary Tarun Chugh will also attend the meeting.
Earlier in the day, Tomar and Chugh met at state BJP chief CR Patil’s residence to discuss the issue.
Some of the names being considered as the replacement for Rupani include, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy, Parshottam Rupala, Gujarat’s Deputy CM Nitin Patel, the controversial Administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, and Lakshadweep, Praful Khoda Patel, and state Agriculture Minister RC Faldu.
The 65-years old Rupani became the fourth CM to step down from his post in BJP-ruled states in 2021. Rupani was installed as the CM in 2016, just 16 months before the elections, when former Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel resigned.
Union Ministers and BJP's central observers for Gujarat, Pralhad Joshi & Narendra Singh Tomar arrive at party office in Gandhinagar for State BJP legislative party meet to elect the next chief minister. pic.twitter.com/eqivd2bjpP
— ANI (@ANI) September 12, 2021
“I have resigned as chief minister of Gujarat,” Rupani said, after meeting Governor Acharya Devvrat and submitting his resignation letter. “I was allowed to serve the state for five years. I have contributed to the development of the state. I will further do whatever is asked by my party,” the former CM said.
“In BJP, there has been a tradition that responsibilities of party workers change from time to time. I will be ready to take whatever responsibility that the party will give me in the future,” Rupani said.
Rupani thanked PM Modi for giving ‘a common man’ like him the opportunity to ‘serve’ the people of the state as CM. Apart from Rupani, the Cabinet ministers also met the governor and submitted their resignations.
Questioned on the reasons for his resignation, Rupani said, “In BJP, it is like a relay race for party workers. One gives the baton to the other.”
Rupani’s exit comes just 15 months before the state Assembly elections. BJP is hoping for a seventh straight term in the state, amid criticisms on handling the second wave of COVID-19.