Vijay Rupani took oath on Sunday as Gujarat’s chief minister along with a revamped team of 24 ministers after dropping a few prominent names from the preceding Anandiben Patel cabinet.
The nine missing faces largely include the Patel leaders who were ineffective in containing a recent wave of Patidar agitation in the state. At the same time, caste equations have not been much changed to keep key vote-banks happy.
The revamped cabinet has eight Patels as against six in the ministry of Anandiben Patel. Senior Patidar ministers Rajnikant Patel and Saurabh Patel were shown the door, while Vasuben Trivedi, Govind Patel, Tarachand and Ramanlal Vora also failed to make the grade.
Vora will be the new speaker.
BJP national president Amit Shah, who had free hand in selecting the new team, gave a clear signal that the party will go all out to retain power in the state next year. The 2017 assembly polls are being dubbed as a “semi-final” for the 2019 general elections in the country.
Former speaker Ganpat Vasava and Atmaram Parmar are the new faces who were administered the oath of office by Governor O P Kohli at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.
Present on the occasion were Shah, party veteran L K Advani, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and Anandiben Patel, among others.
Rupani, 61, is the state’s 16th CM. Nitin Patel took oath as his deputy.