Gujarat: No 'repeats' in Bhupendra Patel's Cabinet of 24 ministers

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on September 16, 2021

Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel greets his Cabinet minsters after they took oath of office at Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar on Thursday. Photo : VIJAY SONEJI / The Hindu

Surat’s Kanubhai Desai gets Finance, youngest minister Harsh Sanghavi gets MoS Home

In its experiment with the no-repeat formula at the State-level, the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat has inducted 24 ministers in the new chief minister Bhupendra Patel. None of the ministers were repeated from the outgoing Vijay Rupani cabinet.

The new cabinet includes ten cabinet-rank ministers and 14 ministers of state, including 5 MoS with independent charge. Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat administered the oath of office to the new cabinet members at the Rajbhavan in Gandhinagar on Thursday in the presence of outgoing chief minister Vijay Rupani, former deputy chief minister Nitin Patel and BJP Gujarat unit chief CR Paatil, among other party leaders.

The BJP had to face internal conflicts to select new ministers and drop some popular faces, which prompted a day's delay for swearing-in. But keeping with tradition, the party carefully maintained the balance of caste and regional representation.

No-repeat experiment

The no-repeat is a new strategy being experimented with at the Assembly level. During the panchayat polls in February 2021, Gujarat BJP chief C R Paatil, set out a new rule for ticket allocation of not repeating anyone or their family members who had completed three consecutive times terms. The party had succeeded, securing a majority of seats under the new strategy.

But what has surprised many in political circles is the party's decision to extend the no-repeat strategy at the State-level by replacing the entire cabinet when the State is facing crucial assembly polls in 15 months.

Portfolio allocation 

Chief Minister Patel will hold general administration, home, industry and mines, urban development, ports besides other portfolios.

Rajendra Trivedi, MLA from Vadodara and former Assembly Speaker under Rupani government, is given revenue, law and parliamentary affairs portfolios. Jitu Vaghani, former Gujarat BJP chief, is the new education minister. Congress turncoat Raghavji Patel, MLA from Jamnagar, is given agriculture and animal husbandry, while Surat's prominent corporate face, Kanubhai Desai, is the new Finance Minister and will also hold Energy and Petrochemicals portfolios. North Gujarat's Patidar leader Rishikesh Patel is given health and family welfare and water resources portfolios.

The youngest in the Bhupendra Patel Cabinet, Surat's diamontaire, Harsh Sanghavi is given independent charge as MoS for sports and culture besides home and disaster management. Morbi MLA and Congress turncoat Brijesh Merja are given independent charge of labour and employment department as MoS.

Female faces

Of the two female faces in the Cabinet, Manisha Vakil (MoS with independent charge) is given Women and Child Welfare, while Nimisha Suthar will hold the MoS for Tribal Development, Health and Family Welfare.

BJP has ensured maximum representation to the Other Backward Class (OBC) with nine ministers, followed by Patidars with six, Tribal get four, brahmins and scheduled castes get two each, and one minister is from the Jain community.

Nimaben Acharya, Bhuj MLA, has been named Speaker of the Assembly.

Published on September 16, 2021

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