Gandhinagar: The swearing-in ceremony of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his council of ministers, which was attended by a galaxy of political leaders from across the country on Tuesday, was unique in many ways.
In a rare show of strength, all the chief ministers of the BJP-ruled state attended the oath-taking ceremony held at the new Secretariat Helipad Ground here.
The event was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Ram Vilas Paswan and Chief Ministers of several BJP-ruled states.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who has had a love-hate relationship with PM Modi and his party, was also present during the swearing-in of the new Gujarat government.
The event also turned out to be a sea of saffron due to the presence of a bunch of spiritual leaders who blessed PM Modi before the ceremony started.
What was even more pleasant to see was the rare coming together of four former Chief Ministers of Gujarat, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who were seen chatting with each other during the swearing-in ceremony of the Vijay Rupani government.
Before the swearing-in ceremony, Modi along with Rupani welcomed and greeted the dignitaries invited to the function, held on the lawns of the State Secretariat, Gandhinagar.
While they came to the first row of dignitaries seated on a separate stage, PM Modi's face brightened up seeing three of the former Chief Ministers seated together in the front row, Keshubhai Patel, Shankersinh Vaghela and Anandiben Patel. When he joined them, all the three stood up and greeted him. He chatted for a while with Keshubhai Patel and Vaghela.
All the four former Chief Ministers had played a vital role in spreading the BJP's deep roots in the state.
While Anandiben stuck to the saffron party despite being dislodged from the top post, Keshubhai Patel unsuccessfully tried to form a third front (Gujarat Parivartan Party GPP) in 2007, after being removed from Chief Minister's post in 2001.
Shankersinh Vaghela too failed in his recent attempts at forming a third front (Jan Vikalp) during the recent state assembly elections after walking away from the Congress which had been his home for almost two decades. He had severed ties with the saffron party in 1995 and had joined the Congress then.
Vaghela or 'Bapu' as he is known by his supporters was invited to the function along with other state Chief Ministers like Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan), Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Manohar Parrikar (Goa) and Nitish Kumar (Bihar).
(With IANS inputs)