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Bhupendra Patel takes oath as Gujarat CM amid grand show of strength

By, Ahmedabad
Dec 13, 2022 06:06 AM IST

BJP leader Bhupendra Patel was sworn in as the 18th chief minister of Gujarat on Monday in a high-profile ceremony in Gandhinagar attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Bhupendra Patel was sworn in as the 18th chief minister of Gujarat on Monday in a high-profile ceremony in Gandhinagar attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah, several Union ministers and 12 chief ministers. Sixteen other ministers, including eight with cabinet rank, also took oath.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanges greetings with Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel (third from left) and other BJP leaders, at the oath-taking ceremony in Gandhinagar on Monday. (ANI)

At a function held at the Helipad Ground near the new secretariat, governor Acharya Devrat administered the oath of office to Patel, 60, who started his second consecutive term as CM.

“Congratulations to Shri Bhupendrabhai Patel on taking oath as CM of Gujarat. I would like to also congratulate all those who took oath as ministers. This is an energetic team which will take Gujarat to even newer heights of progress,” the PM tweeted after the ceremony.

BJP chief JP Nadda was also present at the ceremony.

Kanu Desai, Rishikesh Patel, Raghvji Patel, Balvantsinh Rajput, Kunvarji Bavaliya, Mulu Bera, Kuber Dindor, and Bhanuben Babariya were inducted as cabinet ministers.

Harsh Sanghvi and Jagdish Vishwakarma were sworn in as ministers of state with independent charge. Six other leaders were appointed as ministers of state – Parshottam Solanki, Bachu Khabad, Mukesh Patel, Praful Pansheriya, Kuverji Halpati and Bhikhusinh Parmar.

By law, the Gujarat council of ministers can have 27 ministers, including the chief minister.

In the ministerial council, the BJP appeared to have aimed at striking a community balance.  Four belonged to the Koli community, three were Patidars, three were from backward groups and two were tribespeople. One minister belonged to the Dalit community and she was also the sole woman in the council. The other ministers belonged to the Jain, Brahmin and Kshatriya communities.

In a historic mandate, the  BJP won 156 of the 182 seats in the Gujarat assembly whose results were announced last week. The Congress won 17 seats, down from 77 in 2017, new entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won five and three seats went to independents.

Seven ministers were part of Patel’s government, which came into effect in September 2021 when he replaced Vijay Rupani as chief minister. Four others had served as ministers in BJP governments in the past.

The election results are being as a precursor to the 2024 general elections where the BJP is looking to retain power for a third successive term.

“Gujarat election results can give a huge boost to the BJP in 2024 elections. It has ascertained that Modi is the supreme leader and strengthened Amit Shah’s position as an organiser and strategist. The Gujarat elections have also exposed the divisive nature of the Opposition and how it can help the BJP,” said Amit Dholakia, a professor of political science at MSU, Vadodara.

Prominent central leaders present at the event included Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Sarbananda Sonowal, Pashupati Kumar Paras, Mansukh Mandaviya and Bhupender Yadav.

Chief ministers of BJP-ruled states – such as that of Uttar Pradesh’s Yogi Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar, Goa’s Pramod Sawant, Karnataka’s Basavaraj Bommai and Assam’s Himanta Biswa Sharma –  attended the ceremony. Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis were also present, apart from senior BJP leaders from across the state.

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