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New Gujarat cabinet may have fresh faces

Sunday, 23 December 2012 - 3:39pm IST Updated: Sunday, 23 December 2012 - 3:57pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: dna

With seven ministers losing polls, BJP will have to find new MLAs to replace them.

Even as preparations are going on for a grand swearing-in ceremony on December 26 for the new BJP government in Gujarat, speculation is rife about who would figure in the
new cabinet.

According to sources, most ministers of the outgoing
ministry are likely to be retained, but there may be some new faces as well as some important ministers were defeated in the assembly elections.

Three cabinet-level and four ministers of state were defeated
by their rivals in the just concluded assembly elections.
Senior leaders like Anandiben Patel, Vajubhai Vala, Narottam Patel, Nitin Patel, Mangubhai Patel and Ramanlal Vora are almost certain to find their names in the list of ministers.

A buzz is that those who have never got a place in the government
despite being elected for the third or even the fourth time
may also be given a place in the ministry.

Sources in the BJP indicated that tribal areas and the South Gujarat region are likely to be given considerable importance in the distribution of portfolios this time.

“Of course there will be balanced representation of all regions, but these are the areas which allowed BJP to compensate for setbacks in Saurashtra and North Gujarat. Further, four ministers from North Gujarat region — Jaynarayan Vyas, Fakir Vaghela, Praful Patel and Jaysinh Chauhan — have lost and there are not too many claimants for a ministerial berth from the region. Many leaders from Saurashtra who could have staked claim for
cabinet berths also lost," said a party insider.

Senior leaders like Bhupendrasinh Chudasama who have been
elected this time may also be considered for a cabinet berth. Saurabh Patel may be promoted to cabinet rank with additional responsibility of spokesperson of the government.

The name of retired bureaucrat and BJP MLA from Asarwa, RM Patel, is also doing the rounds as a likely member of the ministry. Apart from this, after the defeat of Dileep Sanghani in the polls,
Pradipsinh Jadeja may be given the legal and parliamentary affairs portfolio.

Strong BJP leader from Banaskantha, Shankar Chaudhary,
who is also state general secretary of the party, may be given the cooperatives portfolio.

Ranjeet Gilitwala and Kishor Vankawala from Surat are also claimants for ministerial berths. Speaker of the previous assembly Ganpat Vasava may also be given a ministerial berth.

However, there is big uncertainty over Amit Shah, a close aide of chief minister Narendra Modi. It remains to be seen what role he gets to play in government or in party.

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