Written byKrunali Shah ·
BJP has taken Gujarat for a record sixth-time, but with a reduced margin. The elections proved to be a mini-revival of sorts for the Congress under an "evolved" president Rahul Gandhi.
Now, reportedly, BJP is considering to replace Vijay Rupani with a candidate who, though not as popular as Modi, connects with the masses.
Smriti Irani's, Mansukh Mandaviya's and Vajubhai Vala's names have emerged.
Rupani has RSS roots and has been in politics since 1987; but, he won an election only in 2014. Though soft-spoken and affable, Rupani is hardly considered a mass leader.
Interestingly, after Anandiben Patel resigned from chief-ministership, Rupani was not a front-runner for the hot seat.
However, his closeness to BJP president Amit Shah and the Dalit and Patidar protests worked in his favor.
So, can the favorite "bahu" of tinsel town-turned-minister Smriti Irani become the next CM of Gujarat?
BJP wants someone with strong popular appeal who can fulfill the promises made to the electorate and turn Gujarat BJP into a united front.
Smriti, presently textiles and I&B minister, has demonstrated strong leadership skills. She enjoys Modi's confidence and is well-versed in Gujarati and English.
That Smriti is close to Modi can't be denied. After repeated goof-ups in her two-year stint as HRD minister, Smriti was shifted to textiles.
After Venkaiah Naidu became V-P, Modi gave Smriti the additional charge of I&B ministry, pushing her back into the main league.
However, considering Gujarat's importance for BJP, Modi might want someone more experienced, with greater political acumen, as CM.
MoS Transport, Mansukh Mandaviya, who enjoys popularity among farmers, and Vajubhai Vala, incumbent Karnataka governor, are other names for chief-ministership.
Meanwhile, Smriti has categorically denied that she is in the race for the CM-post.
Earlier, while commenting on BJP's Gujarat win, Smriti garnered attention by claiming "Jo jeeta wahi sikander."
So, will she be the CM? That's up to the Modi-Shah duo to decide!
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