Gandhinagar, Dec 26: Gujarat has always been precious to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Modi was the chief minister of the western state, considered to be the BJP's strongest hold, for 13 years before he became the country's PM after the saffron party's massive win in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The fierce battle between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress to win the recently held Gujarat Assembly elections reinforced the fact how important the state is in the overall national politics.
Political analysts have termed the Gujarat elections as the penultimate battle of strength before the all-important Parliamentary elections in 2019. The PM and co-won the Gujarat battle for the sixth consecutive times by winning 99 seats, seven seats more than the magic number 92 to rule the state.
The Congress, under its new president Rahul Gandhi, gave a tough fight to the incumbent BJP, but unfortunately had to be happy with 77 seats. Although the BJP's performance in the 2017 elections in Gujarat was its poorest in the last 22 years, the Congress gave its best performance in decades in the state.
Thus after the results of Gujarat polls were out, the Congress claimed that it was a "moral victory" for the party. As both the parties continue their fight over the state, it is actually Gujarat which has come out triumphant.
On Tuesday, when Vijay Rupani took oath as the CM of the state for the second time in Gandhinagar, his swearing-in ceremony turned into a show of strength for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.
From PM Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, Union home minister Rajnath Singh to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (his party Janata Dal (United) (JD-U) has re-joined the NDA this year), Rupani and his cabinet colleagues in the state assembly were literally sidelined by a galaxy of leaders on the big day for the BJP.
Other leaders who attended the event were Union minister Nitin Gadkari, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal and Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh, to name a few.
After winning Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections and retaining Gujarat, the BJP now has its government in 19 states of the country. Moreover, the party has its government at the Centre too.
The spread of the saffron colour (the BJP's official colour) across the length and breadth of the country was well-highlighted during Rupani's swearing-in ceremony where top national and states' leaders were present to congratulate the new CM and his ministers.
Rupani took oath along with 19 other ministers in presence of the PM. Nitin Patel took oath as the deputy CM of the state. Before taking an oath, Rupani and his wife Anjali visited the Akshardham temple in the capital city.