MUMBAI: Bhupendra Patel hit the ground running by holding a high-level meeting to review the flood situation in the state shortly after swearing in as the 17th chief minister of Gujarat on Monday. He was administered the oath of office by Governor Acharya Devvrat in the presence of senior BJP leaders Amit Shah, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and others.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his greeting for Patel and hoped he would enrich the growth trajectory of Gujarat. Sources said his council of ministers would be finalised in the next few days after consultations with the central leadership. Earlier, Patel offered ‘Gau pooja’ at the Swaminarayan Temple in Ahmedabad. A Kadva Patel, he is the first Ahmedabadi to become the chief minister of Gujarat.
On Day 1, Patel took stock of the flood situation in Saurashtra, Jamnagar and Rajkot districts. He had a telephonic conversation with the Collector of Jamnagar and gave instructions on rescue and relief measures. He asked the officials to carry out the evacuations with the help of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
“The chief minister also sought details about the condition of the reservoir of Aji-2 Dam due to heavy rains in Rajkot and urged the Rajkot Municipal Commissioner and collector to move the people from the low-lying areas to a safe place immediately,” the CMO stated. CM also obtained the details of 1,155 people of Aji shifted to safer places.
The announcement of the 59-year-old Patel as the CM-elect during a legislative party meeting on Sunday came as a surprise to many, as the low-profile MLA was among the top contenders. He is a first-time MLA from the Ghatlodia constituency in Ahmedabad. Patel is a member of several organisations of the influential Patidar community.
The saffron party is banking on his connect with the Patidars to blunt the challenege mounted by the AAP in recent times by leading it to a stellar show in the polls next year. In a sudden and unexpected move on Saturday, Vijay Rupani had resigned as the chief minister, amid reports of the state unit warning against the party going to the polls under his leadership.