The BJP has said that Vijay Rupani will remain the Chief Minister, but some other names are also being whispered in the state’s power corridors, especially after the “below expectation” results. Observers attribute this to the TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor. The party is set to form government for a sixth straight term, but the celebration is muted as it got 16 seats less, compared to the 2012 Assembly elections, as the Congress improved its tally despite the loss. The names doing the rounds for the post of Gujarat CM are Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, Smriti Irani, and her Cabinet colleague and Minister of State for Roads and Transport, Mansukh L Mandaviya.But dominant thinking is to continue with Rupani, at least for a year.The party does not need to change the CM,” a senior BJP leader said.The leader said party president Amit Shah has also said that Rupani would continue as Gujarat CM. “He is Shah’s close confidant, so he is likely to continue, unless the high command has some different ideas,” he said.The name of Patel leader Ranchodbhai Chanabhai Faldu is also doing the rounds. Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani did not comment on the issue.There is also a murmur in the Gujarat BJP that the party may not appoint a Deputy Chief Minister this time. Nitin Patel held the post in the last government. The party may now make him the Assembly Speaker.”Nitin Patel and Rupani did not share good relations and that is why the party may decide against appointing a Deputy CM. The party needs somebody to handle business in the Assembly. Patel can be the Speaker because of his long experience,” said another senior leader.”Former Speaker Ganpatsinh Vasava is also there but no other Scheduled Tribe leader has been elected who can become a Cabinet Minister. The party needs a senior Scheduled Caste MLA who can be in the government. The BJP high command can keep Vasava in the Cabinet and Patel could be the Speaker,” said the senior leader.The BJP’s Parliamentary Board meeting is likely to be held this weekend. The Board has deputed Maharashtra in-charge Saroj Pandey and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to discuss Gujarat’s leadership issue.No dy cm in guj?There is also a murmur in the Gujarat BJP that the party may not appoint a Deputy Chief Minister this time. Nitin Patel held the post in the last government.
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