After his successful first innings as CM for a year, Bhupendra Patel, once again, took oath as chief minister of Gujarat on Monday in the presence of the BJP top brass, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Along with him, 16 others were sworn in to the Council of Ministers in a ceremony that was attended by Union Ministers led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, including UP’s Yogi Adityanath and MP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who heads a Shiv Sena faction, and Haryana Deputy Chief Minister and JJP leader Dushyant Chautala were among the BJP allies who attended the function.
A-listers at the grand event included Maharashtra deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, former Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa and former Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani.
Administering the oath of office was Governor Acharya Devvrat, who also swore-in eight Cabinet-rank ministers, two Ministers of State with Independent charge and six Ministers of State.
Until now, the relatively small Council of Ministers led by Patel includes seven from the OBC segment, four Patidars, two from Scheduled Tribes and one each from the Scheduled Caste, Brahmin, Jain and Rajput communities. SC representative Bhanuben Babariya is the sole woman in the Council. According to rules, the Council can have a maximum of 27 ministers.
The Cabinet ministers include Kanu Desai (Pardi), Rushikesh Patel (Visnagar), Raghavji Patel (Jamnagar Rural), Balvantsinh Rajput (Sidhpur), Kunvarji Bavaliya (Jasdan), Mulubhai Bera (Khambhaliya), Kuber Dindor (Santrampur) and Babariya (Rajkot Rural).
The two MoS with independent charge are Harsh Sanghavi (Majura) and Jagdish Vishwakarma (Nikol) and the six other MoS include Parshottam Solanki (Bhavnagar Rural), Bachu Khabad (Devgadh Baria), Mukesh Patel (Olpad), Praful Panseriya (Kamrej), Bhikhusinh Parmar (Modasa) and Kunvarji Halpati (Mandvi).
While Patel will helm of General Administration, Narmada, Urban Development and Home, Harsh Sanghavi has been repeated as MoS Home and Finance has been allotted to Kanu Desai.
Seven ministers have been appointed from the previous government, including Kanu Desai, Rushikesh Patel, Raghavji Patel, Harsh Sanghavi, Jagdish Vishwakarma, Mukesh Patel and Kuber Dindor.
There were a total of 18 BJP women contestants, of which, 14 have won the elections. Bhanuben Babariya has been included as the only woman in the new cabinet and will head the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Women and Child Welfare .
Significantly, there were four women ministers in the previous government. This time around, Manisha Vakil, Vibhavariben Dave, Nimisha Carpenter and Nimaben Acharya are conspicuous by their absence.
Alongside, prominent faces from the previous government who were given a miss this time include Jitu Vaghani, Purnesh Modi, Kiritsinh Rana, Naresh Patel, Arjunsinh Chauhan, Jitu Chaudhary, Manisha Vakil, Nimisha Suthar, Gajendrasinh Parmar, Vinod Moradiya and Devabhai Malam. Also missing were at least three other BJP leaders who had won the elections and were considered frontrunners: Shankar Chaudhary, Ramanlal Vora and Ganpat Vasava.
Apart from Rajnath Singh, Union Ministers who attended the function were: Sarbananda Sonowal, Pashupati Kumar Paras, Mansukh Mandaviya, Bhupender Yadav, Smriti Irani, Parshottam Rupala, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Darshana Jardosh, Devusinh Chauhan, Mahendra Munjapara, Ramdas Athawale and Anupriya Patel.
Chief Ministers in attendance included Himanta Biswa Sarma (Assam), Pema Khandu (Arunachal Pradesh), Pushkar Singh Dhami (Uttarakhand), Manohar Lal Khattar (Haryana), Pramod Sawant (Goa), Basavaraj Bommai (Karnataka), Manik Saha (Tripura) and N Biren Singh (Manipur).
In the election results announced last week, the BJP recorded a historic majority, winning 156 of the 182 Assembly constituencies followed by the Congress with 17 seats and Aam Aadmi Party with five.
Also Read: Bhanuben Babariya, The Only Woman In Gujarat’s “List Of 16”