AHMEDABAD: Anandiben Patel, a close aide of Narendra Modi, took oath on Thursday as Gujarat’s first woman Chief Minister, along with six ministers and 14 Ministers of State (MoS), at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar city.
While she inducted four new MoS, Anandiben dropped three MoS -- Purshottam Solanki, Parbat Patel and Vasan Ahir -- from the Modi Government. She also elevated MoS Ganpat Vasava, a tribal leader from Surat, to the Cabinet rank.
Tarachand Chheda from Mandvi, Bachchubhai Khabad from Devgadbaria and Kantibhai Gamit from Nizar in Surat are the new MoS.
Influential ministers Nitin Patel, Ramanlal Vora, Bhupendrasinh Chudamsama and Saurabh Patel retained their positions. Vasuben Trivedie is the only woman member of the ministers’ council, apart from Anandiben. Solanki, a strongman belonging to the fishermen community, was dropped on health grounds. As Fisheries Minister he stood accused of causing the state government a loss of `400 crore over the allotment of fishing licences. Parbat Patel, MoS for Health, was removed because of his poor performance. Ahir, MoS for Cottage Industries, paid a price for his slip of tongue during the Lok Sabha election campaign. He had described the Kutchh area, where he comes from, a part of Pakistan.
Anandiben drew flak for inducting a minister caught for watching porn during Assembly proceedings, and failed to show the door to a tainted minister, who has 47 criminal cases against him.
Babubhai Bokhiria from Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace Porbunder has managed to maintain his place in the Cabinet. A Rajkot court had convicted him for illegal limestone mining. He is out on bail and has challenged his conviction in the Gujarat High Court. There are 47 criminal charges pending against him.
Governor Kamla Beniwal administered the oath to Anandiben in front of 50,000 spectators. Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi, BJP stalwart L K Advani, party president Rajnath Singh, former BJP presidents Nitin Gadkari and Venkaiah Naidu, senior party leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj were present. BJP chief ministers from other states Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Raman Singh, Manohar Parrikar and Vasundhara Raje also attended the function.
While Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh represented the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Shiv Sena had deputed senior leader Subhash Desai.