A day after the exit of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his cabinet, the state BJP legislators are meeting today to discuss his successor. Mr Rupani stepped down yesterday without citing any reason -- a move that came as a surprise to many. The state's development, he said, should carry on under "new leadership" and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "guidance".
"I will hold consultations with Gujarat leaders, then the central leadership will take a decision," Union Minister and the BJP's central observer for Gujarat, Pralhad Joshi, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. Senior party leaders Bhupendra Yadav and BL Santosh will attend the meeting.
In the morning, Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and BJP National General Secretary Tarun Chugh met at state BJP chief CR Patil's residence.
Sources have told NDTV that two Union Ministers from Gujarat -- Mansukh Mandaviya and Parshottam Rupala -- the controversial Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel, and state agriculture minister RC Faldu are among the names being considered as replacement for Mr Rupani.
The 65-year-old resigned as Chief Minister on Saturday, 15 months ahead of assembly elections in the state, in what is being seen as a course correction by the BJP.
There is speculation that his handling of the second wave of the Covid pandemic is one of the reasons for the hard reboot ordered by the Central leadership.
Mr Rupani was the fourth BJP Chief Minister to step down this year.
Others who walked the same path includes BS Yediyurappa in Karnataka in July. In Uttarakhand, Tirath Singh Rawat quit barely four months after replacing Trivendra Rawat.
In Gujarat, Mr Rupani was installed in 2016 – 16 months ahead of elections – after the removal of Anandiben Patel.
The BJP is hoping for a seventh straight term in the state and is seen as being keen to avert any backlash over the handling of the second wave of the Covid pandemic, where many died in hospitals, allegedly due to an oxygen crisis .
The party is also battling resentment of the Patidar community, who are now demanding that a member of the community be picked for the top post.