Vijay Rupani, minister of water resources and tourism in the Anandiben Patel-led BJP government in Gujarat was on February 19 elected as the president of state BJP unopposed.
Rupani, a graduate in arts and post graduate in law, succeeds R.C. Faldu, a Patel leader. The 60-year-old is the tenth party president of Gujarat. Majority of the cabinet ministers were in attendance, along with the CM, at the party’s headquarters at Shri Kamalam near Gandhinagar.
There were no other nominations.
In his career Rupani, a bania by caste, has held many positions, including standing committee chairman of Rajkot Municipal Corporation and Mayor of Rajkot. He was thrice general secretary of state party and a Rajya Sabha MP.
Rupani is considered close to national BJP president Amit Shah. Sources said that he is equally close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Gujarat chief minister.
The newly declared state BJP president faces the uphill challenge of steering the BJP through as the Patidar agitation in the state is refusing to die down despite efforts of the state government to reach a compromise. He will also have to play an important role in the assembly election that is due in 2017.
Rupani is believed to be having a grip over party’s internal issues. For nearly one year, Patels in the state have been demanding reservation in OBC category.
Before reaching Shree Kamalam, Rupani visited RSS headquarters in Ahmedabad. On February 18, he had called on former chief minister Keshubhai Patel and chief minister Anandiben.