Vijay Rupani took oath as Gujarat's Chief Minister on Tuesday morning along with 19 other ministers in a grand ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and other party A-listers. As he landed in state capital Gandhinagar, the Prime Minister held a road show, waving from his car to cheering crowds lined up along the route of his convoy to the secretariat grounds, the venue of the oath ceremony.
The big show of strength and the carefully crafted new Gujarat cabinet signaled that, assembly elections over and its 6th successive term won, the BJP is already in prep mode for the 2019 general elections, when PM Modi will seek a second term. The BJP hopes to win all the state's 26 seats like it did in 2014, re-calibrating its strategy after its winning margin was considerably reduced in this month's assembly elections.
While the party has chosen status quo by retaining Vijay Rupani as Chief Minister and Nitin Patel as his deputy, 11 minister of the previous cabinet also find a place in the new one, while 9 ministers are new. There are seven ministers from Saurashtra, the area where the BJP lost most seats.
Six ministers in the 20-member cabinet are Patels or Paatidars, including Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, as the BJP moves to consolidate the support once more of the influential community, 14 per cent of Gujarat's voters and recently upset with the ruling party over their demand for reservation in government jobs and colleges not being met. Another six belong to backward castes or OBCs, also a key group which the Congress attempted to aggressively woo in the assembly elections.
PATIDARS IN THE GUJARAT CABINET
RC Faldu is from Saurashtra and a third-time MLA from Jamnagar South. Twice earlier he had held the post of former Gujarat BJP chief.
Kaushik Patel is a trusted associate of party chief Amit Shah. He contested from Naranpur constituency which was vacated by Amit Shah.
Saurabh Patel has been a key link between previous BJP governments and industry leaders. He has been elected MLA for the 5th time and has handled the finance ministry during Narendra Modi and Anandiben Patel's tenures.
Jayeshbhai Vitthalbhai Radadiya is known to be a strongman from Saurashtra with considerable clout in his community. Despite the Paatidar agitation, he won by a large margin from Jetpur.
Jayeshbhai Vitthalbhai Radadiya has been a minister in the earlier Rupani government.
Parbatbhai Savabhai Patel is a 5th time MLA from Tharad constituency. He represents the Chaudhary Patel community in North Gujarat. Earlier he has held portfolio in Anandiben Patel government.
Purshottambhai Solanki is a Koli Patel leader who won for the 6th consecutive term even though BJP didn't do well in Koli Patel areas. He has been a cabinet minister in Narendra Modi, Anandiben and Vijay Rupani governments.
Ishwarsinh Thakorbhai Patel is another Koli Patel leader who won for the 4th time from Ankleshwar. Again a loyalist, earlier he has held portfolios in both Narendra Modi and Anandiben Patel governments
Ganpatsinh Vestabhai Vasava played crucial role in BJP's win in South Gujarat. He was the Assembly Speaker during Narendra Modi's tenure as Chief Minister.
Dilipkumar Viraji Thakore won for the 5th time despite a strong challenge from Paatidars in Sami seat. He held portfolios in Narendra Modi and Anandiben Patel's cabinet earlier.
Ishwarbhai Ramanbhai Parmar wrestled a win despite most Dalit leaders loosing in Surat. He was first elected to the state assembly in 2012.
Vasabhai Ahir from Kutch has won for the 5th consecutive time. He has been a minister in Anandiben Patel and Vijay Rupani governments earlier.
Ramanlal Nanubhai Patkar, a tribal leader from Umargaon constituency in south Gujarat has won for the 5th time.
Bachubhai Khabad is a veteran leader from tribal constituency of Devgadh Baria in central Gujarat. He won for the 3rd time in a Congress stronghold.
Bhupendrasinh Chudasama is BJP's Kshatriya face in the state who handled important portfolios like revenue and education in Narendra Modi and Anandiben Patel's tenures. He is a 5th time MLA from Dholka in Ahmedabad.
Kishore Kanani is a new face in the Vijay Rupani cabinet. He won for the 2nd time consecutively from the epicentre of Paatidar agitation in Varaccha in Surat.
Pradipsinh Jadeja is a close associate of the BJP chief Amit Shah and an emerging young leader from the Kshatriya community. Mr Jadeja won for the 4th consecutive time and worked with Narendra Modi, Anandiben Patel and Vijay Rupani earlier.
Jayendrasinhji Parmar is a veteran from central Gujarat who has been winning from Halol constituency since 2002
Vibhavari Dave, the only woman in Vijay Rupani's team has been a minister earlier who is known to represent the Brahmins. She has won for the 3rd time.