Bhupendra Patel, the MLA from Gujarat's Ghatlodia constituency has been elected as the new chief minister of Gujarat, according to several media reports.
The announcement was made by Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar at Gujarat's Gandhinagar after the BJP concluded its core committee meeting at Kamalam. Patel (59) was unanimously elected BJP legislature party leader. His name was proposed by CM Vijay Rupani, whose resignation from the post on Saturday surprised many.
Most of the 112 MLAs of the party in the 182-member Assembly were present at the meeting, BJP sources said.
"Bhupendra Patel elected as the new leader of BJP legislative party", Tomar, Gujarat in-charge said after the party's legislative meeting. "Bhupendra Patel will be sworn-in as Gujarat CM soon," he added.
Patel earlier the chairman of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA). He had won his Ghatlodiya seat by a margin of 117,000 votes in 2017, the largest margin in that poll.
The development comes in the wake of Vijay Rupani's resignation on Sunday, 15 months before the election to the 182-member Assembly that is due in December 2022. Rupani (65), the fourth chief minister to demit office in BJP-ruled states during the coronavirus pandemic, was sworn in as chief minister in December 2017.
Rupani became the fourth chief minister to step down from the top post in BJP-ruled states in six months. He quit a year ahead of Assembly polls in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state.
It is still unclear what prompted the decision however, political observers noted that his "soft-spoken" image may have contributed to his undoing of being a "weak" CM, who allowed bureaucrats to overrule the political leadership in taking key decisions
He met Governor Acharya Devvrat at his residence on Saturday and tendered his resignation.
After tendering his resignation, Rupani thanked the BJP central leadership and the prime minister. "I want to thank BJP for giving me this opportunity to serve as Gujarat's CM. During my tenure, I got the opportunity to add to the development of the state under PM Modi's leadership."
"It has been a five-year journey for development of Gujarat under guidance of PM Modi. Now, to further develop the state, with new energy and power, I have decided to resign as Chief Minister," Rupani was quoted by news agency ANI.
With inputs from agencies