Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani along with his 19 Cabinet colleagues took the oath of office and secrecy on Tuesday in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) National President Amit Shah and the chief ministers of the BJP and allies-ruled states in Gandhinagar.
Governor O P Kohli administered the oaths of office to Nitin Patel as deputy chief minister. The new Rupani cabinet is relatively small in size as compared to previous governments with 9 cabinet ministers and 10 ministers of state.
As Rupani became the second-time Chief Minister, former chief minister Anandiben Patel, Shankersinh Vaghela and Keshubhai Patel shared the stage together.
Among the top BJP leaders and CMs who attended the ceremony included former deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivrajsinh Chauhan and union ministers Nitin Gadkari. In the elections for the 14th State Assembly, BJPhad won 99 seats in the 182-member house.
Having faced a tough battle in the elections that encircled around caste composition, Rupani carefully created his cabinet by ensuring representation of all. The Patidar community, which had upped the ante against the previous government demanding reservation, has six Patidar MLAs in the new Cabinet - five having cabinet rank and one MoS.
The Other Backward Classes (OBC) communities have been given equal representation in the Cabinet as that of Patidars with six prominent OBC faces getting a ministerial berth.
However, geographic distribution of ministers remained tilted towards Saurashtra, once BJP fortress that emerged as the weakest region for the party in this election, has been given maximum representation with 7 ministers from the region. This was followed by the South Gujarat region, where the Patidar reservation agitation had its impact.
The North Gujarat region, the epicenter of the Patidar reservation agitation has three ministers - Nitin Patel himself representing the Patidar community, while two OBC faces from the region.
The election results had revealed the rural-urban divide as most of the Urban pockets went to BJP while the party had to face defeat in several of its rural strongholds. Considering the fact, Rupani chose 7 ministers from the Urban constituencies including himself and the deputy chief minister, while the remaining 13 ministers represent the rural population of the state.
While Rupani repeated some faces including Vasan Ahir from Anjar constituency in Kutch, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Pradipsinh Jadeja, Prasottam Solanki, Ganpat Vasava, Jayesh Radadiya some BJP old guards such as Saurabh Patel and R C Faldu have been included in the Cabinet. Those dropped from the previous Rupani cabinet included former Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Babu Bokhiria, who won from Porbandar and Vallabh Kakadia, former Transport minister.
Experimenting with the youth power, Rupani also included some of the first time MLAs for MoS like Kishor Kanani from Varachha Road. This is also seen as a reward for Kanani, who has been successful in winning this crucial seat, which witnessed worst anti-government demonstrations during Patidar agitation.
The Cabinet has one female face, Vibhavriben Dave from Bhavnagar East constituency as MoS. The allotment of portfolios to the newly-appointed ministers will take place subsequently.