The Gujarat cabinet is likely to be expanded today, sources have said, adding all MLAs were late on Tuesday asked to be present in Gandhinagar. New Gujarat Chief Minister and first-term MLA Bhupendra Patel was sworn in on Monday, two days after Vijay Rupani’s surprise exit from the post, a year ahead of the Assembly polls. Patel (59), unanimously elected BJP legislature party leader on Sunday, was sworn in as the state’s 17th chief minister by Governor Acharya Devvrat at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan.
On Tuesday, a BJP leader said the swearing-in of more ministers is likely in the next two days, as only Patel (59) was sworn in on Monday.
“Discussions are going on and the swearing-in will take place either Wednesday or Thursday,” Gujarat BJP spokesperson Yamal Vyas had said on Tuesday.
As per the procedure, the names of ministers will be declared when they take the oath, he said.
Some ministerial berth aspirants met state BJP chief C R Paatil on Tuesday, party sources said. There is speculation in state BJP circles on whether Nitin Patel, deputy CM in the Rupani-led ministry, is retained in the new cabinet.
There is also talk on the chances of Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, RC Faldu and Kaushik Patel, senior ministers in the Rupani cabinet, being retained.
Party sources said efforts will be made to accommodate senior leaders in the cabinet as far as possible.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah met Patel and Paatil Monday night before leaving for New Delhi, the sources said. Cabinet formation was likely discussed, they added.
Meanwhile, Bhupendra Patel’s elevation to the coveted post is being attributed to his closeness to former Gujarat chief minister and current Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel.
With state Assembly polls scheduled in December 2022, the BJP is banking on Bhupendra Patel, a Patidar, for poll victory.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, BJP won 99 of the 182 seats and Congress got 77.
Rupani, the fourth chief minister to demit office in BJP-ruled states during the coronavirus pandemic, completed five years in office on August 7 this year.