Ahmedabad, Sep 15 (PTI) New ministers of the Bhupendra Patel-led government in Gujarat will take oath on Thursday afternoon, the CMO said on Wednesday as the ruling BJP gave final touches to the in-coming cabinet amid suspense over ministerial faces in the backdrop of the party''s "no repeat" formula.
The BJP had earlier in the day said the ceremony would be held on Wednesday afternoon and preparations for the same had already started at the Raj Bhavan.
The swearing-in ceremony of the new ministers, whose names have not been declared so far, will be held at 1:30 pm in the state capital Gandhinagar, an official said.
"The swearing-in ceremony of the new cabinet of CM Shri Bupendra Patel will take place tomorrow, September 16 at 1:30 pm at Raj Bhavan, Gandhinagar," the CMO tweeted on Wednesday evening.
Patel (59), a first-time MLA from Ahmedabad, took over as the new Gujarat chief minister on Monday after the sudden resignation of Vijay Rupani on Saturday.
The BJP had earlier said the ceremony would be held on Wednesday afternoon. While police were deployed in considerable numbers, a stage, erected inside the Raj Bhavan, was also given final touches to host the event.
Even the banners put outside the Raj Bhavan had mentioned September 15 as the date for the swearing-in ceremony. However, in the afternoon, all the banners were taken down all of a sudden.
Later, the governor''s office confirmed that the ceremony has been postponed to Thursday.
"The swearing-in ceremony of ministers will take place at 1:30 pm on Thursday,” Manish Bharadwaj, Officer on Special Duty to Governor Acharya Devvrat, told PTI.
Gujarat BJP spokesperson Yamal Vyas had in the morning said the ceremony was scheduled after 2 pm in Gandhinagar on Wednesday.
Neither the BJP nor the state government gave any reason for the postponement.
Sources revealed that several former as well as senior ministers, who were part of Rupani''s Cabinet, are apparently unhappy with the leadership as they suspect they will not be part of the new cabinet as per the BJP''s newly proposed "no repeat" formula.
Defending the "no repeat" formula, a top BJP leader said the party received huge success in the recently-held local body polls in Gujarat because new faces were given tickets.
He claimed even people want to see new faces in power.
Many believe the "no repeat" formula has been proposed keeping in mind the 2022 Assembly polls as the BJP, in power in Gujarat for more than two decades, wants to go to voters with a clean slate.
Party sources have revealed a majority of ministers from the Rupani government will be dropped this time. However, there was no official word from the BJP about it.
By postponing the swearing-in ceremony, sources said BJP leadership has actually bought time to pacify several big wigs, who may have been upset for being axed.
Gujarat BJP in-charge Bhupender Yadav has been holding marathon meetings in Gandhinagar for the last two days to finalise the names to be included in the new cabinet.
On the other hand, several MLAs and former ministers such as Ganpat Vasava and Bachubhai Khabad paid a visit to Gujarat BJP president C R Paatil at his residence in Gandhinagar during the day.
Bhupendra Patel was unanimously elected the BJP legislature party leader on Sunday and was sworn-in as the state''s 17th chief minister by the governor in Gandhinagar on Monday. He was the only one to take oath that day.
Patel''s elevation is being attributed to his closeness to former Gujarat chief minister and current Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel.
With the Assembly elections scheduled in December 2022, the BJP is banking on Patel, who belongs to the influential Patidar community, for poll victory.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP won 99 of the 182 seats, while the Congress got 77. PTI PJT PD GK VT