NEW DELHI: After sweeping victory in recently concluded assembly elections in Gujarat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is pondering over the next chief minister candidate for the coastal state.
As per reports, Vijay Rupani is likely to retain the post of the state Chief Minister and the BJP will appoint two Deputy Chief Ministers, like it did in Uttar Pradesh.
After the BJP swept to victory in the keenly fought election in Gujarat, CM Rupani and Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel tendered their resignations to Governor OP Kohli.
The Governor, while accepting the resignations, formally dissolved the 13th Gujarat Assembly. It was announced that Rupani would be the acting Chief Minister until a successor is named.
However, speculations were rife that the BJP in all likelihood was looking to have Rupani and Patel hold on to their posts in the state until the 2019 general election.
The source said Rupani was an acceptable face in the party and the BJP did well in the just ended Assembly elections in his home district.
But there are grievances against Rupani and Patel, with the BJP seat tally not touching even 100 -- compared to BJP President Amit Shah's repeated claims that it will win 150 seats in the state.
The saffron party lost a sizable number of seats in Saurashtra region where, in some districts, it failed to capture even a single seat.
Several other reports claimed that among those said to be wanting to be Gujarat Chief Minister is Union Minister of State for Agriculture Purshottam Rupala, who has a good standing in the Patidar community.
The others are union minister Mansukh Mandavia, another Patidar, and Rajya Sabha member Smriti Irani.
Meanwhile, an official confirmation on the proposal to appoint two deputy chief ministers is awaited yet.