Bhupendra Patel will be the new Chief Minister of Gujarat
Most of the 112 MLAs of the party in the 182-member Assembly were present at the meeting, BJP sources said. Patel won the 2017 Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections from Ghatlodia constituency, defeating Congress candidate Shashikant Patel by over one lakh votes, the highest winning margin in the 2017 Gujarat polls.
He holds a diploma in civil engineering and is considered close to former CM Anandiben Patel, who won from the seat in 2012 polls. With Patel being named the new legislature party leader, the suspense over who will succeed Rupani as Gujarat chief minister has ended.
The new leader will meet the governor and stake claim to form the government, sources said. BJP's central observers Narendra Singh Tomar and Prahlad Joshi and party general secretary Tarun Chaug were present at the legislature party meet. Tomar met state BJP chief C R Paatil on Sunday morning.
There was talk that Praful Khoda Patel, administrator of the union territories of Lakshadweep and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu and Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Health Minister, were among the contenders. Bhupendra Patel's name was not in the long list of probables being discussed in state political circles and in a way the first term MLA emerged as the dark horse, a political observer said.
He belongs to the influential Patel community. Mandaviya is from Patidar community. Rupani (65) on Saturday resigned from the post, his sudden announcement coming over a year before the state goes to polls. It is not clear what prompted the development in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state where elections to the 182-member Assembly are due in December 2022.
Rupani, the fourth chief minister to demit office in BJP-ruled states during the coronavirus pandemic, was sworn in as chief minister - his second stint as CM - in December 2017. Rupani, who completed five years in office on August 7 this year, first became the chief minister on August 7, 2016, following the resignation of incumbent Anandiben Patel, and continued in the office after the BJP's victory in the 2017 Assembly elections.
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