Ahmedabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which officially staked its claim for forming the government in Gujarat on Saturday, could confront a challenge in deciding who to pick as ministers after many of its stalwarts failed to win re-election.
The new government, led by Vijay Rupani, will be sworn in on Tuesday, Gujarat BJP spokesperson Harshad Patel said in a statement on Sunday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, national BJP chief Amit Shah, chief ministers of 18 BJP-ruled states and central ministers, have been invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony, he added.
A delegation including state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani and senior BJP leader Bhupendrasinh Chudasama met governor Om Prakash Kohli on Saturday evening with a letter staking the party’s claim for forming the government.
The BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member state assembly to clinch power in Gujarat for a sixth straight term. The Congress won 77 seats, putting up a creditable performance. It was the Congress party’s highest tally in the state since 1985.
Six of the BJP’s ministers and the speaker of the assembly Ramanlal Vora lost the elections. The new government may have many new faces; as many as 27 BJP lawmakers were unable to make it to the assembly this time.
With the chief minister hailing from Saurashtra region and deputy chief minister from north Gujarat, the party may consider rewarding legislators from central and south Gujarat.
Ministers who were defeated include minister of state for urban development and health Shankar Chaudhary, who lost to Congress’ Geniben Thakor from the Vav constituency. Chaudhary was seen as one of the tallest Other Backward Class (OBC) leaders of the BJP. The party’s cabinet rank minister and Dalit leader Atmaram Parmar was defeated by Congress’s Pravinbhai Maru from the Gadhada (SC) assembly seat. Another cabinet minister, Chimanbhai Sapariya, lost from Jamjodhpur constituency to Chiragbhai Kalariya of the Congress. He was the minister of state for agriculture and energy.
The absence of ex-chief minister Anandiben Patel, who did not contest the elections this time citing age-related issues, will be felt in the assembly this time. Another notable leader who did not contest this time is Shankersinh Vaghela, who was the leader of the opposition before he left the Congress party earlier this year.