The state of Gujarat is one of the most vibrant and economically developed states of India. It was created out of the 17 northern districts of former state of Bombay in 1960 and has a coastline of 1,600 km and a population of more than 60 million. The state is bordered by Rajasthan in the north, Maharashtra in the south, Madhya Pradesh in the east, and the Arabian Sea as well as the Pakistan province of Sindh in the west. Though its capital is Gandhinagar, its largest city is Ahmedabad.
Gujarat includes major sites of the Indus Valley Civilization, such as Lothal and Dholavira. Its coastal cities, mainly Bharuch and Khambhat is said to have served as ports and trading centres in the Maurya and Gupta empires. Tracing the history of Gujarat, it becomes clear that the state played an important role in the economic development of India right from ancient times. Today also it is one of the most industrialized states of India, and has a per capita GDP above the national average.
After independence Gujarat was grouped into three larger units; Saurashtra, Kutch, and Bombay state. It had mostly Gujarati-speaking people in the north and Marathi-speaking people in the south. However, an agitation by both Gujarati and Marathi population for their own states led to the split of Bombay state on linguistic lines. Thus, on 1 May 1960, the new states of Gujarat and Maharashtra were created. Initially the capital of Gujarat was Ahmedabad but later it was moved to Gandhinagar in 1970.
Major cities of Gujarat are Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar. The state has an area of 75,686 sq mi (196,030 km2) with the longest coast line 1600 km, dotted with 41 ports. In year 2010, as per the Forbes list of world`s fastest growing cities, Ahmedabad was placed at number 3 after Chinese cities, Chengdu and Chongqing.
The state has a coastline of 1,600 km and a population of more than 60 million. Narmada is the biggest river of Gujarat followed by Tapi. However, the river Sabarmati covers the longest area in the state. The famous Sardar Sarovar Project is built on the Narmada River.
Gujarat is considered to be one of the most industrialized states of India and is home to some of the largest businesses in the country. In a July 2011, in one of its report ‘The Economist’ had noted that Gujarat`s infrastructure competes with the economic engine of China - Guangdong. The state has the Jamnagar Refinery owned by Reliance Industries which is the largest refinery in the world and also the world`s largest ship-breaking yard - near Bhavnagar at Alang. The state also has the country’s only Liquid Chemical Port Terminal at Dahej.
Gujarat is home to Tata Nano in Sanand and is the only state with surplus electricity. Major agricultural produce of Gujarat are cotton, groundnuts (peanuts), dates, and sugar cane, milk and milk products. Industrial products include cement and petrol.
The first chief minister of Gujarat was Dr Jivraj Narayan Mehta (1 May 1960 - 19 September 1963) of the Congress party. The Congress dominated the political landscape of the state for a number of years but the turn of Bhartiya Janata Party came in 1995 Assembly polls when the saffron party defeated the Congress and Keshubhai Patel came to power.
In 2001, after the loss of two assembly seats in by-elections, Keshubhai resigned as the chief minister and Narendra Modi was elevated to the top post by the BJP. Modi has been at the helm of the state since then. The BJP came back to power in 2002 elections under the leadership of Modi and on 1 June 2007, he became the longest serving CM of the state. The BJP won the Assembly elections once again in 2007 and Narendra Modi became the chief minister for the third time in a row.