Ahmedabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party leadership on Friday named state party president Vijay Rupani as Gujarat's new Chief Minister, while Nitin Patel will be the deputy chief minister.
Earlier, reports had said that Nitin Patel, the senior-most minister in the Anandiben Patel Cabinet, would take over as the Gujarat CM from her.
Rupani emerged as the choice for the top slot at the legislature party meeting attended by BJP chief Amit Shah and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.
After the meeting, Gadkari announced that Rupani would be the new Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The suave soft-spoken Vijay Rupani, a Jain-Baniya, is presently the party's Gujarat unit president, while Health Minister and State Government spokesperson Nitin Patel is a grassroots rustic Patel leader.
Both are 60 years of age, but Patel is way senior to Rupani in political experience and running the government. Rupani was also a cabinet minister, besides being the party chief.
Rupani would be tasked with leading the party in the Assembly polls due next year, overcoming the multiple challenges faced by it in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Anandiben Patel announced her decision to resign through a Facebook post last week, saying she thought it fit to step down since as she will turn 75 this November, the age cap set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the central and the state ministries.
BJP president Amit Shah has since yesterday held deliberations with party leaders to finalise the candidate.
BJP's parliamentary board accepted Anandiben Patel's offer to resign on Monday at its meeting in Delhi, setting in motion the process of choosing the new Chief Minister.
The BJP, in power in Gujarat for long, has been facing grim challenges like Patel quota stir and Dalit unrest in the wake of widely condemned Dalit flogging incident in Una apart from reversals in rural areas in civic polls, which together seem to have dented its image and support base, prompting Aanandiben to quit.
(With Agency inputs)