Gujarat BJP's trinity, PM share stage after 20 yrs

Gujarat BJP's trinity, PM share stage after 20 yrs

The swearing-in of Vijay Rupani, who took over as 16th chief minister of Gujarat on Tuesday, 22 years after the BJP first formed  a  government in the state, had one more distinction.

The ceremony brought together  three  men who made BJP what it is in the state  - Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former chief minister and Patel community stalwart Keshubhai Patel and former chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela.

The BJP's attempts to spread its wings in Gujarat came to fruition 15 years after it was formed in 1980, when, in 1995, the trinity got together to project Keshubhai as the BJP's leader in the state.

Keshubhai formed his government in March 1995.  

Seven months later, Vaghela was in a tussle over power with Modi, who revolted and brought down the Keshubhai government.

Since then, the three have never been seen together on a public platform.

Vaghela went on to form his regional outfit, becoming  the chief minister from 1996 to 1998, after which he merged his party with the Congress  and became  the Union textiles minister.

Keshubhai once again took over reins as chief minister of Gujarat in 1998.

This time, it was Modi who ousted  him,  in October 2001. The rest is history.

Though the three were never together on a public platform since, Modi has been a regular visitor to Keshubhai's residence to seek blessings and had been sitting opposite Vaghela in the Gujarat Assembly as chief minister.

"Chief Minister Vijay Rupani personally called me. Pradipsinh Jadeja personally  came to invite me. There is nothing wrong in attending the swearing-in ceremony," Vaghela told mediapersons.

When asked what the prime minister had whispered in his ears, he was all smiles.

"It was  a continuation of what he had whispered in my ears in the Assembly before moving to Delhi as prime minister. But I will not share it with you at present.  Will let you know later..." he said.

Before moving to Delhi, Modi  was  felicitated in the Gujarat Assembly in 2014. During that occasion, he had whispered something  in Vaghela's ear. What he had whispered no one knows even today and this has become something of an enigma.

Other than the meeting of the trinity, Rupani's swearing-in also saw chief ministers of 18 states coming together, the highest-ever present at the swearing-in of any chief minister.

These include Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivrajsinh Chauhan, Chhatisgarh CM Ramansinh, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje, among others.

Several Union minsiters, including Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Ravishankar Prasad too were present, in company of senior party leaders as former deputy PM L K Advani, current national party president Amit Shah and former chief minister Anandiben Patel.

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