By: Sugat Shrivastava
image source: DNA
BJP won the elections for the sixth consecutive time, though with a reduced tally of seats.
The 20-member Council of Ministers was administered the oath of secrecy and office in a high-profile function in the presence of top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP ‘paterfamilias’ L.K. Advani, party president Amit Shah, top Union Ministers and Chief Ministers from the BJP and NDA-ruled States like, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ramvilas Paswan. Former Gujarat chief ministers Keshubhai Patel, Shankarsinh Vaghela and Anandiben Patel also attended the event.
Born in Rangoon (now Yangon, Myanmar), Vijay Rupani, 61, joined an RSS shakha as a schoolboy, before graduating to the BJP via the Sangh’s students wing–the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). Rupani, who worked mostly in the party organisation in Gujarat, fought his first Assembly election in 2014, winning a bypoll from Rajkot West. This time he won from the same seat with an impressive margin of over 53,000 votes. A bachelor of law, Rupani was a Rajya Sabha member between 2006 and 2012.
This is the sixth consecutive government of the BJP in Gujarat, though the party’s strength in the assembly has reduced this time from 2012. It returned to power winning 99 seats in the 182-member house, compared with 115 in 2012, even as the Congress bettered its tally to 77 from 61 five years ago. Despite the BJP’s tally falling below 100 in a long time, Rupani’s selection also suggested that the top party leadership wanted continuity before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In recently conducted by-polls in R.K. Nagar, Tamil Nadu, NOTA won more votes than BJP candidate. The BJP polled 1,417 votes while NOTA received 2,373 votes. This certainly strongholds the claim of relinquishing of BJP’s hold throughout the nation. Thus, there is a mammoth task ahead of Rupani to bring back the lost trust of people in the state.