Amit Shah protégé Rupani named CM

August 05, 2016 06:10 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 02:33 am IST - Ahmedabad

“God knows what happened,” Deputy Chief Minister-designate Nitin Patel tells The Hindu when asked why he didn't make it.

Gandhinagar : Gujarat : 05/08/2016. Shri Vijay Rupani and Shri Nitin Patel greets each other during Gujarat BJP elected as their Gujarat Chief Minister candidate Shri Vijay Rupani and Dy CM Shri Nitin Patel, in present of outgoing Gujarat CM Smt, Anandinen Patel, National BJP President Shri Amit Shah and Union Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari at Kamalam, BJP Gujarat Head Quarter in Gandhinagar on Friday August 05, 2016. Photo : Vijay Soneji.

After high drama at a meeting of top leaders to name a successor to outgoing Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, the BJP on Friday named party president Amit Shah’s protégé and first time MLA Vijay Rupani as Chief Minister while Nitin Patel, backed by Ms. Patel, was named his deputy.

The meeting, held before the legislature party meeting, reportedly witnessed heated arguments between Mr. Shah and Ms. Patel on the issue of the Patidar agitation and the selection of the new CM. “Anandiben almost broke down saying the Patidar agitation was internally engineered to dislodge her. This provoked Mr. Shah to retort that he had no role to play but now he would decide on the next Chief Minister and he mentioned Mr. Rupani’s name,” said a top source close to Ms. Patel.


The source said: “Ms. Patel insisted that as agreed earlier, the party should go by seniority and select Nitin Patel because Mr. Rupani is a first-time MLA and lacks administrative experience.”

“Ms. Patel even reportedly threatened to leave the meeting half way but Mr. Shah did not budge from his backing to Mr. Rupani,” a senior party leader told

The Hindu.

As the arguments continued, organising secretary V. Satish stepped out and reportedly called the Prime Minister to brief him of the situation. “Amitbhai was not in a mood to concede,” said a senior minister present at the meeting.

Meanwhile, an apparently upset Nitin Patel, who had even distributed sweets in the morning and gave media interviews sparking celebration by his supporters in his constituency Mehsana, told The Hindu , “God knows what happened,” when asked why he lost out in the race at the last moment.

The meeting lasted almost 45 minutes and finally in the legislature party meeting, Mr. Rupani's name was endorsed while Mr. Patel was confirmed as Deputy Chief Minister, marking a first for the BJP in Gujarat.

After a delay of several hours, central observer Nitin Gadkari briefed the media in the presence of Ms. Patel, Mr. Rupani and Mr. Patel while Mr. Shah skipped the briefing and Ms. Patel refused to talk during the interaction.

“We have unanimously elected Vijay Rupani and Nitin Patel as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively,” Mr. Gadkari said, refusing to explain why Mr. Patel, who was almost confirmed and had even given media interviews, was overlooked at the last moment.

“Here, the party MLAs, leaders and others have taken a decision on Mr. Rupani and Mr. Patel in a democratic manner,” he added.

Meanwhile, Patidar leaders, who had rallied behind Mr. Patel, are apparently upset with the BJP high command's decision to drop Mr. Patel at the last moment. “Nitin Patel should immediately resign from the party,” Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel said.

The new Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers will be sworn in on Sunday at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.

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