nitin patel
Vijay Rupani (centre) has been elected the chief minister of Gujarat. Nitin Patel, seated on his right, has been made the Deputy Chief Minister. Former Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel is also seen.

Vijay Rupani, the state BJP President was chosen as the Gujarat chief minister on Friday. Unlike earlier reports, Nitin Patel, former Gujarat Health Minister, was declared as the new Deputy Chief Minister for the state.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had attempted to keep the name of the new Gujarat chief minister a closely guarded secret until the official announcement on Friday. 

"It's the right of the party MLAs to decide the leader. As a worker of the BJP, I am ready to accept any responsibility given to me," Patel had told reporters on Thursday.

BJP's national chief Amit Shah flew to Ahmedabad on Thursday and held back-to-back meetings for deciding on the successor. Union Minister of State Parsottambhai Rupala, Gujarat ministers Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Ramanlal Vora, Vijay Rupani and Nitin Patel, BJP organising secretary Bhikhubhai Dalsaniya, and BJP state in-charge Dinesh Sharma and other state ministers were present at the meetings.

Earlier reports had said that Patel and Rupani were being considered for the post of the next chief minister of Gujarat. However, reports had said that Rupani withdrew from the political race.

"I have told the party leadership that I would like to work for the organisation," Rupani had said.

Rupani, 60, was inducted into the state Cabinet, when Anandiben Patel first expanded the council after becoming Gujarat chief minister. The 74-year-old resigned last week to make way for a younger face. He had held the transport, water supply, labor and employment portfolios.  

Patel had shown interest in the chief ministerial position in 2014 when Anandiben Patel was picked. He had said that no matter who gets chosen by the MLAs, he would support them. He is crucial for bringing the support of the Patidar community back to the BJP.

Since the protest in October 2015 by the Patidar community, seeking reservation in education for their economically weaker sections, relations between the ruling party and the community have been strained.

Anandiben Patel's way of handling the protests, which had turned violent, was heavily criticised by the community and as an aftermath, the BJP performed poorly during the panchayat and municipal elections.

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