The ruling BJP has won the recently concluded and much talked about Gujarat assembly elections with a whopping vote share of 52.52 per cent, winning 156 seats out of 182 seats in a seventh successive streak. Sailing on an anti-incumbency ride, BJP has turned the mandate into pro-incumbency through well-orchestrated booth management and minute social engineering. Bhupendra Patel, a second-time MLA and Chief Minister for the last leg of the government, has been reappointed as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Patel (60) first took the oath in September 2021 as the Gujarat CM, replacing Vijay Rupani. He won the Ghatlodia seat of Ahmadabad, part of the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, with the highest margin of 1.92 lakh votes in these elections.
Patel has kept his cabinet relatively small; but the caste factor is clearly visible as his 17-member cabinet has seven OBC ministers; four Patel; two from the Scheduled Tribe and one each from the Scheduled Caste, Brahmin, Jain and Rajput communities, seems fit as pro-rata basis. The cabinet looks optimistic, with a mixture of young and experienced ministers.
Rushikesh Patel: Rushikesh Patel, a native of the Mehsana, and a four-term MLA, has previously held the position of minister of Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education. He has been given health, higher and technical education, law and parliamentary and legislative affairs portfolios.
Raghavji Patel : Raghavji comes from the Sourashtra Leuva Patel community and has served as an MLA seventh times from Jamnagar. Raghavji Patel has been allocated the Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Housing and Rural Development departments.
Balvantsinh Chandansinh Rajput : A BJP candidate from Sidhpur, Rajput, defected from the Congress to BJP in 2017. Balwantsinh Rajput has been given the Industries, Labour and Employment, MSME (Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), Cottage Industry and Civil Aviation
Kunwarjibhai Mohanbhai Bavaliya : Kunwarji comes from the fisherman community and won his seventh poll, handing BJP its first-ever victory from Jasdan. Kunvarji Bavaliya has been given Water Resources, Water Supply, Food and Civil Supply departments.
The most important thing to notice about this cabinet is it looks free from negative history of corruption or criminal charges. BJP has tried to portray a clean picture in the wake of the arrival of the Aam Adami Party
Dr Kanu Desai : Kanu Desai comes from the powerful Anavil Brahmin community. After retiring from corporate services, he joined politics, and was finance minister in the first Bhupendra Patel Government. Kanubhai Desai has been allocated the Finance, Energy and Petrochemicals departments.
Mulu Bera : Mulubhai Hardasbhai Bera, an Ahir leader, is a former minister from Khambhalia in Devbhumi Dwarka district, defeating AAP’s Gujarat chief ministerial candidate Ishudan Gadhvi and sitting congress MLA with a significant margin and getting nearly 41per cent of the votes. He has been given Tourism, Cultural Activities, Forest and Environment departments.
Dr Kuber Dindor : Dr Dindor was Minister of State for Higher and Technical Education, Science, and Parliamentary Affairs in the first term of the Bhupendra Patel Government from September 2021. He is MLA from the Santrampur Assembly Constituency of Mahisagar district. He will handle Tribal Development as well as Primary and Secondary Education portfolios as a cabinet minister.
Bhanuben Babariya : Bhanu Babariya, who comes from the schedule caste community, won the Rajkot Rural (SC) seat for the third time. Her father-in-law Madhubhai Babariya too, was MLA from this seat in 1998. The only woman cabinet member, Bhauben Babariya has been allocated Social Justice and Empowerment, Women and child development portfolios.
Minister of State /Independent Charge
Harsh Sanghavi : Once the youngest MLA of Gujarat at the age of 27, Harsh Sanghavi contested from the Majura seat for a third consecutive time. He is believed to be close to PM Modi, Amit Shah and state BJP president CR Paatil. He has been allocated the portfolios of Home, Police Housing, Industry and Cultural Activities as a Minister of State (MoS), along with Sports and Youth Service, NRG (Non-Resident Gujaratis) department, Prisons, Border Security and Transport portfolios as MoS with independent charge.
Jagdish Vishwakarma : Vishwakarma, who has been the president of the BJP’s Ahmedabad unit, was one of the key members of the previous cabinet. He defeated the Congress’s Ranjitsinh Barad from the Nikol constituency with a margin of over 55,000. He has been given independent charge of Cooperation, Salt Industry and Protocol departments, along with MSME, Cottage Industry, Khadi and Village Industry and Civil Aviation in the capacity of a junior minister.
Parshottam Solanki : An MLA from Bhavnagar Rural and a prominent Koli leader, he has defeated his Congress leader Revantsinh Gohil by 73,484 votes. Solanki was a fisheries minister in the then-Modi government and an influential Koli leader from Sourashtra. He has been allocated Fisheries and Animal Husbandry as a Minister of State again.
Bachubhai Khabad : Khabad is a four term MLA from Devgadh Baria Assembly Constituency and has previously served as a Minister of State for Fisheries, Forest and Environment in Anandiben Patel cabinet in 2014.
He has been made MoS for Panchayat and Agriculture departments.
Mukesh Patel : An MLA from Olpad in the Surat district, Patel belongs to the Koli Patel community. He is a farmer and contractor and was a personal assistant to former Olpad BJP MLA Kiritbhai Patel in 2007. He has been given the charge of Forest and Environment, Climate Change, Water Resources and Water Supply departments as a junior minister.
Kunwarji Halpati : Halpati had won the Mandvi seat this year, which had been a Congress Bastian since independence. Halpati, a principal, took Voluntary Retirement Service of a secondary school of Mandvi. He will handle Tribal Development, Labour and Employment and Rural Development as an MoS.
Bhikhusinh Parmar : First-time MLA Parmar was elected from the Modasa constituency of the Aravalli district in north Gujarat and has defeated the Congress’s sitting MLA Rajendrasinh Thakor with a margin of over 34,500 votes. Parmar is from an OBC community. He has been appointed a junior minister for Food and Civil Supply as well as Social Justice and Empowerment.
Praful Panseriya : Panseriya runs a media publicity and real estate businesses in Surat. He is from the Leuva Patidar community and has been associated with BJP for a long time. A former municipal councillor, he contested and won his first Assembly election from the Kamrej seat in 2012.