Today speculation comes to an end with unanimous appointment of Vijay Rupani BJP leader as 16th new chief minister of Gujarat after his predecessor Anandiben Patel quit from office midway. Another contender for the same office, Nitin Patel, has been appointed as his deputy.
The formal announcement was made amid national observer Nitin Gadkari, Saroj Pandey and BJP partymen at Kamalam, BJP office in Gandhinagar.
Till last moment there was an intense speculation in the past two days as to who would get to head the Gujarat government between the two of them. However, Nitin got too optimistic and by Friday afternoon he even started publicly accepting congratulations and spoke to news channels as if he was going to be the next chief minister.
BJP chief Amit Shah presented a surprise element in store and finally the climax ended with Rupani being given the responsibility of taking over as the chief minister. It is also that Rupani is close to BJP president Amit Shah. Dishing out surprises has become the norm under the current Modi-Shah dispensation, even catching the media on the back foot. Probably, it was too big a surprise for Nitin.
The deputy chief minister-designate committed the mistake of becoming impatient and start celebrations a bit early in the day.
It was a tie between Rupani and Nitin. Initially, Rupani was believed to be ahead of Nitin in the race but since Thursday when central BJP observers Nitin Gadkari and Saroj Pandey landed there, Nitin’s name gained more air. But in the end, it was Rupani with his non-controversial, low-profile and sincere organisational man credentials which prevailed. Also, Rupani is a Jain Bania, which is taken as a caste-neutral status at a time when the state, society and polity seemed to be broadly divided into caste lines.