1. Vijay Rupani to take oath as Gujarat Chief Minister for second term today
  2. Nitin Patel also to take oath as Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister
  3. Ceremony expected to be attended by PM Modi, Amit Shah among others
GANDHI NAGAR:  Vijay Rupani will take oath as Gujarat Chief Minister for a second term in Gandhinagar today in a ceremony that is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and chief ministers of all BJP-ruled states. The ceremony is being held at an open ground near the state secretariat, Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani said.

Mr Vaghani, though, did not reveal how many ministers will take oath along with Chief Minister Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.

Several Union ministers and other senior leaders of the party have also been invited for the swearing-in ceremony. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi will also attend the oath-taking ceremony, sources in Patna said last evening.

Mr Rupani, 61, is close to party chief Amit Shah who had earlier this year indicated that he and deputy chief minister Nitin Patel would continue in their positions post the assembly elections, results for which were declared last week. Mr Rupani has a clean image and is caste neutral, but his chances of being retained to the top post were seen to diminish after the BJP won 99 seats, only seven more than it needed for a majority to form government and 16 less than it had won last time. The party now has 100 in the assembly with an independent MLA Ratansinh Rathod from Lunawada offering support to the party.

 The Congress vastly improved its position winning 80 seats along with allies after a campaign focused on local development, and Vijay Rupani’s critics blamed him. But there are those who have pointed out that replacing Vijay Rupani would’ve amounted to an admission that the party has suffered a setback in Gujarat.

After the muted result the party took time to make a decision amid speculation over other probable candidates for the top post, like union ministers Purshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandaviya, both prominent Patel or Patidar leaders from Saurashtra, the region where the BJP lost most heavily.