GANDHINAGAR, Dec 10 (PTI): Bhupendra Patel will continue as the chief minister of Gujarat for a second straight term with the newly-elected MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) electing him as leader of the legislative party on Saturday.
After the meeting, Patel met Governor Acharya Devvrat at Raj Bhavan and staked claim to form a government, two days after the BJP won a record mandate in the Assembly elections by winning 156 out of the total 182 seats.
The Governor invited Patel to form the government and take oath at 2 pm on Monday.
Patel will take oath as the 18th chief minister of Gujarat at a function at the Helipad ground near the new secretariat in Gandhinagar on December 12.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah along with the chief ministers of other BJP-ruled states would attend the swearing-in function, party sources said.
Meanwhile, hectic consultations were underway for picking ministers of the new government.
Patel and state BJP chief C R Paatil flew to Delhi in the evening and were expected to hold consultations with the top leadership of the party including Prime Minister Modi, Shah and BJP chief J P Nadda.
MLAs Kanu Desai, Raghavji Patel, Rishikesh Patel, Harsh Sanghavi, Shankar Chaudhary, Purnesh Modi, Manisha Vakil and Raman Patkar are among those expected to be inducted in the ministry.
The BJP would try to balance caste and regional representations while picking ministers, party sources said.
Addressing a press conference after the legislative party meeting at the state BJP headquarters ‘Kamalam’, Bhupendra Patel said the implementation of promises made in the manifesto, including a Uniform Civil Code, will be the priority of his government.
“The newly-elected MLAs met today at ‘Kamalam’ where the proposal to name Bhupendra Patel as chief minister of Gujarat was unanimously approved,” the BJP said in a statement.
Patel’s name was proposed by MLA Kanu Desai and supported by Shankar Chaudhary, Purnesh Modi, Manisha Vakil, Raman Patkar and the party’s chief whip Pankaj Desai.
Senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, B S Yediyurappa and Arjun Munda were present at the meeting as the party’s central observers.
“Rajnath Singh then announced that Patel will continue as the leader of the BJP legislative party. Singh praised Patel’s soft and determined nature and his style of working during his (previous) tenure as chief minister. He said the public as well as party legislators liked Patel’s nature and (the legislators) announced his name unanimously,” BJP leader Bharat Pandya told reporters.
The BJP won the seventh straight term in Gujarat in the two-phase election held on December 1 and 5.
“Gujarat has once again put its stamp of approval on the leadership and politics of development of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and put faith in the Bharatiya Janata Party,” Patel told reporters.
Patel’s winning margin of 1.92 lakh in Ghatlodia Assembly seat in Ahmedabad district was the highest in the state.
“PM Modi’s commitment to take Gujarat into the league of developed nations (to bring the state’s development on par with developed countries) will be realised by all the MLAs and state BJP chief C R Paatil. The government and party will work effectively under the guidance of PM Modi and Amit Shah,” he said.
“We have formed a committee (on Uniform Civil Code) and we will act on its recommendations. The BJP has not left a single promise unfulfilled and it has resolved pending issues like (abrogation of) Article 370 and (construction of) Ram Mandir (in Ayodhya),” he said when asked about the BJP’s poll promise to implement a UCC.
The BJP had also promised to set up an ‘anti-radicalisation Cell’ to identify and eliminate terror threats.
Patel, 60, resigned as chief minister along with his entire cabinet on Friday to pave the way for the formation of a new government following the election results.
A low-profile leader and the first from the Kadva Patidar sub-group to become CM, Patel had replaced Vijay Rupani in September 2021.