Everything you want to know about Gujarat's new CM Vijay Rupani

Nitin Patel, the health and family welfare minister, has been made the Deputy CM.

 |  3-minute read |   05-08-2016
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Vijay Rupani, the 60-year-old state BJP president, is the new chief minister of Gujarat.

Nitin Patel, the health and family welfare minister has been made the deputy CM. Though there were various contenders in the reckoning, only two were being considered as serious candidates.

Rupani is considered an effective administrator. His genial demeanour and conciliatory approach have made him a likeable personality both in the government and the party.

When Anandiben Patel became the CM, there were several inter-party feuds which often landed at Delhi's doorstep. To rid itself of the catfights, the BJP made Rupani the state president. A law graduate, Rupani was also transport minister in Anandiben's cabinet. The dual role gives him unparalled access to both the party and administration.

Given the kind of volatile situation prevailing in Gujarat, amid agitations by both Patidars and Dalits, a major chunk of the party considers him best suited for the job. One other thing which worked in his favour is that he not only enjoys the confidence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but is also considered very close to BJP president Amit Shah.

vijay-rupani-emb_080_080516062817.jpg  Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

The party leadership feels that the new leader should be able to reach out to the protesting communities and an amiable Rupani can do that. To maintain law and order, his administrative skills will be helpful.

Also read: Anandiben Patel's resignation won't save BJP in Gujarat

While OBCs and Dalits are up in arms, making a chief minister from a non-OBC community can help in avoiding a tricky situation.       

Current position and political history

Transport and water supply minister.

He was an active ABVP leader and was the only leader in the Anandiben Cabinet who was jailed in 1975 during Emergency.

For most part of his political life Rupani lived under the shadow of Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala as both were from Rajkot West.

He was a corporator and then became Rajkot mayor. Keshubhai Patel, who also played a key role in shaping Rupani's career had made him the chairman for implementation of 20-point-programme. He had been BJP general secretary for a long time and was made Rajya Sabha MP. Close to Modi, he also cosied up to Amit Shah in Delhi when the latter was externed and had restrictions placed on him on entering Gujarat.

Rupani was elected as Rajkot (West) MLA and was inducted in the Anandiben cabinet. He was also appointed state BJP chief. In fact, he announced the decision of quota for economically backward class on behalf of the governor in the presence of Anandiben and Amit Shah. He became an alternate power centre in the Cabinet.

Political mentor 

Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Rupani's political career was also shaped by Keshubhai Patel. He was initially groomed by BJP leaders Chiman Shukla and RSS leader Pravin Maniar.

Political rival 

Vajubhai Vala. Once Vala was banished as governor to Karnataka, he had his come comeuppance and has risen politically since.

Also read: Why Dalits used carcasses of cows in Gujarat to protest

Anandiben Patel: Ever since he became a minister and then became the state BJP president, Rupani began flexing his political muscles. Rupani is the closest confidant of Anandiben's biggest political rival and she was prepared to accept anyone as her successor but Rupani.

Equation with the RSS

Pravin Maniar, the former state RSS chief, was one of the political mentors of Rupani. Also an ABVP leader and close to the RSS.

Challenges for new Gujarat CM

1.    To fill the larger-than-life shoes left behind by Narendra Modi.

2.    To contain Patidar agitation and to bring Patel's back to the BJP fold.

3.    To contain Dalit uprising in Gujarat.

4.    To contain cow vigilante groups, who are on a rampage.

5.    To deal with inner party factionalism.

6.    To check AAP, which is spreading its wings in state.

7.    To stop Congress, which is in revival mode.

8.    To revive image of Gujarat, which has been battered in last two years.

9.    To organise successful Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January 2017.

10.  Ensure BJP's victory in 2017 Assembly Elections.


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