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Gujarat Cabinet expansion: BJP discards all ministers from previous Vijay Rupani-led ministry

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Gandhinagar: Ahead of next year’s Gujarat Assembly elections, as many as 24 members, including 21 who debuted as ministers, were inducted into the Bhupendra Patel-led ministry. The BJP discarded all ministers in the previous Vijay Rupani-led regime. This new-look ministry is expected to make a significant impact ahead of the 2022 state polls, according to political observers.

With the fresh inductions, which include two women, the strength of Patel’s ministry has gone up to 25. The ministry formation exercise has tried to balance caste and regional representation. The positive and negative aspects of the new experiment can be understood in the following key points:

1-After picking Patel, a Patidar community leader as the CM, the BJP has given berth to six Patidars and OBCs each, four from scheduled tribes, three from scheduled castes, two each from among Brahmins and Kshatriyas and one member from the Jain community. 

2-Like the CM Patel, who is considered close to Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, the new cabinet minister Rishikesh Patel and minister of state with independent charge Jagdish Panchal, are also considered close to the former Gujarat CM. 

3-Cabinet ministers Rajendra Trivedi and Kiritsinh Rana are old-timers and considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while minister of state Harsh Sanghvi is known to be close to state BJP president C R Paatil. 

4-Soon after the ceremony, there is widespread dissatisfaction over the dropping of senior ministers, who held key posts in the Rupani ministry, said a PTI report citing sources. 

5-Rajendra Trivedi, Jitu Vaghani, Rushikesh Patel, Purnesh Modi, Raghavji Patel, Kanubhai Desai, Kiritsinh Rana, Naresh Patel, Pradip Parmar and Arjunsinh Chauhan were sworn in as cabinet ministers. Trivedi, Rana and Raghavji Patel have been ministers earlier. 

6-Harsh Sanghvi, Jagdish Panchal, Brijesh Merja, Jitu Choudhary and Manisha Vakil took the oath as ministers of state with independent charge. 

7-The nine other ministers of state are Mukesh Patel, Nimisha Suthar, Arvind Raiyani, Kuber Dindor, Kirtisinh Vaghela, Gajendrasinh Parmar, R C Makwana, Vinod Moradia and Deva Malam. 

8-Bhupendra Patel’s elevation – he is the first from the Patidar sub-group to be a chief minister – is key to BJP’s plans to woo the Kadva Patidar community, which some political observers feel, has drifted away from the party. 

9-Making him the CM is being seen as an attempt by the BJP to woo the Patidars ahead of the 2022 polls and retain the grip on Gujarat, which is under its rule for over two decades. 

10-Before Bhupendra Patel, Gujarat saw Anandiben Patel, Keshubhai Patel, Babubhai Patel and Chimanbhai Patel as chief ministers from the Patidar or Patel community.

Bhupendra Patel (59), who was sworn in as the 17th chief minister of the state on Monday, was present at the Raj Bhavan ceremony, along with Rupani, whose sudden resignation from the post on Saturday led to the formation of the new ministry. 

Ahead of the swearing-in, there were speculations that senior ministers in the Rupani ministry, like Nitin Patel, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Kaushik Patel, Pradeepsinh Jadeja, and R C Faldu may not be included. 

The BJP took the “no-repeat” formula a step further by not inducting any member of the Rupani ministry. 

Earlier in the day, Governor Acharya Devvrat administered the oath to 10 cabinet ministers and 14 ministers of state, including five ministers of state with independent charge. Those sworn in at the 1.30 pm Raj Bhavan ceremony include former Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi and former state BJP president Jitu Vaghani. 

(With Agency Inputs)

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