Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi kept most of the important departments under him while distributing others among his team of 16 on Saturday.
While the CM has kept general administration, home, industry, ports, science and technology, climate change, Narmada, Kalpsar and information to himself, Nitin Patel has been given finance. The new No 2, who held urban development and irrigation earlier, has also bagged health and transport departments.Modi’s close confidant Anandiben Patel has retained her portfolios revenue, road and buildings, women and child development and has been given an additional charge of urban development. Anandiben is seen as a frontrunner to succeed Modi in case he moves to the Centre.
A seven-time MLA from Rajkot and the longest-serving finance minister Vakubhai Vala has been dropped from the Cabinet and made the assembly speaker.
Saurabh Patel, a junior minister earlier, has been elevated to the cabinet rank with tourism, energy and petrochemicals and mines departments.
A relatively junior MLA, Rajni Patel has been given the important home department as a junior minister under Modi. Bhupendrasinh Chudasama has got education, law and justice and panchayat departments.
Besides Modi, the cabinet has nine cabinet and seven junior ministers. According to insiders in the ruling party, around 10 ministers will be inducted into the Cabinet in 2-3 months.
In the 182-member assembly, the government can have as many as 27 members in the Cabinet as per the 15% rule.
The new cabinet has the maximum members, 9, from the powerful Patel community.
In the recent assembly polls, the BJP returned to power for a third consecutive term but seven sitting ministers, as also the party’s state president, lost the polls. The BJP won 115 seats.