Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in a move to ensure its victory in Gujarat Assembly elections 2022, changed the entire cabinet along with the Chief Minister. With Bhupendra Patel replacing Vijay Rupani as the new Chief Minister of the state and the induction of seven ministers from the Patidar community, Modi led BJP already has played perfectly with the caste equation.
Cabinet reshuffle in Gujarat 2022
Despite performing reasonably well as the Chief Minister, the party replaced him with Bhupendra Patel as it will be beneficial for the party in the upcoming elections of Gujarat. While Bhupendra Patel was sworn in as the 17th chief minister of the state on Monday, twenty four ministers, including former Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi and former state BJP president Jitu Vaghani also sworn in as Gujarat ministers on Thursday. No minister from the earlier Vijay Rupani-led ministry was inducted. The cabinet ministers including Rajendra Trivedi, Jitu Vaghani, Rushikesh Patel, Purnesh Modi, Raghavji Patel, Kanubhai Desai, Kiritsinh Rana, Naresh Patel, Pradip Parmar and Arjunsinh Chauhan took oath on Thursday to serve the state.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated all party colleagues who were sworn in as Gujarat ministers. “Congratulations to all Party colleagues who have taken oath as Ministers in the Gujarat Government. These are outstanding Karyakartas who have devoted their lives to public service and spreading our Party’s development agenda. Best wishes for a fruitful tenure ahead,” PM Modi tweeted.
Congratulations to all Party colleagues who have taken oath as Ministers in the Gujarat Government. These are outstanding Karyakartas who have devoted their lives to public service and spreading our Party’s development agenda. Best wishes for a fruitful tenure ahead.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 16, 2021
Patidar induction to strengthen party’s position in Gujarat
Interestingly, the cabinet reshuffle includes mostly the members from the Patidar community and the new Chief Minister also belongs to the same community. With such a move, the BJP high command has played the Patidar card which further will strengthen the position of the party in the state. In the politics of Gujarat, the Patidar community holds a strong position and thus it is said that this particular community has the power to hand over the victory to any party. Ever since Anandiben Patel resigned in 2016 and Vijay Rupani was inducted as the CM, the resentment among the Patidars towards the BJP in the state became quite visible. As a result, Congress managed to perform better than the BJP In Patidar-dominated areas like Saurashtra. for the fact that the community holds the power to decide for more than seventy electoral seats in the state, BJP has secured these seventy seats from the Congress by inducting Patidar CM along with seven Patidar Ministers.
Prime Minister Modi for OBC community in the state
Apart from Patidars, another community that plays a major role in the Gujarat assembly elections is OBC. The second-largest community in the state after the Patidars, OBC is considered to be the core vote bank of the BJP which was also the reason behind the BJP’s victory in 2017. While Patidars showing their resentment to BJP did not vote in favour of them, the OBC community stood by its side and ensured its victory in 2017. This is the reason behind induction of six OBC Ministers in the cabinet. While PM Modi himself is enough to grab the vote share from the OBC community, BJP still chose to induct OBC ministers in the cabinet reshuffle to target the OBC community at the national level.
However, as BJP has fulfilled the demand of a Patidar CM, the community could swing to the saffron party as it once did when it has supported since Modi when he was the CM of the state. Moreover, BJP has got a fresh slate, a clear image of leaders that will eventually help the party sweep the state in the upcoming Assembly elections 2022.