Vijay Rupani: From Rangoon-Born RSS Boy to Gujarat Chief Minister
Vijay Rupani won from Rajkot West seat against Congress’ Indranil Rajyaguru in the recently-held polls in Gujarat.
Vijay Rupani will continue as the Gujarat Chief Minister, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced on Friday, 22 December. His colleague, Nitin Patel, will retain his position of the Deputy Chief Minister.
Gujarat Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vijay Rupani won from Rajkot West in the Assembly elections by a heavy margin of 53,755 votes against Congress’ Indranil Rajyaguru.
Rupani has been a devoted Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member since his school days and keeps a low profile.
Compared to other contenders for the post, what apparently weighed in favour of the 61-year-old MLA, among other things, is his proximity to BJP chief Amit Shah.
His elevation to the top post is also seen as a recognition of his Jain community, which was recently accorded minority status by the state government.
Rupani, who wields considerable influence in Saurashtra, a politically significant part of Gujarat, celebrated his birthday on August 2 with his wife and son at their house in Rajkot, his native town.
Born in Rangoon (now Yangon, in Myanmar) to Ramniklal Rupani in 1956, he grew up in Rajkot where he joined the RSS as a school boy. He pursued BA and then LLB.
As the chairman of the state Tourism Corporation, he headed the ‘Khushbu Gujarat Ki’ campaign to popularise the state as a tourist destination.
As a Rajya Sabha member from 2006 to 2012, he was part of various parliamentary committees on water resources, food, public distribution, and public undertaking, among others.
He was appointed as the chairman of the Gujarat Municipal Finance Board in 2013. In October 2014, he won the Assembly bypoll from Rajkot West with a good margin after sitting MLA Vajubhai Vala resigned following his appointment as the Governor of Karnataka.
On February 19, Rupani became the state BJP chief, replacing RC Faldu. It was seen as a victory for the Amit Shah faction in the party’s state unit.
Rupani, who served as the Transport Minister in Anandiben Patel’s Cabinet, cut his teeth into politics in his college days when he joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), and got involved in the students struggle committee during the Navnirman Andolan of the 1970s.
He was among the first to join the students’ agitation on the call given by Jayprakash Narayan, and also spent nearly one year in Bhuj and Bhavnagar jails during the Emergency.
Rupani was elected as Rajkot civic body corporator for the first time in 1987, and was later appointed as the president of the city BJP unit.
Between 1988 and 1996, he served as the chairman of the Standing Committee of Rajkot Corporation, and in 1996-97 he became the Mayor.
His is also recognised for his efforts to develop Rajkot as an industry centre in the Saurashtra region.
Rupani has the distinction of serving as the state BJPs general secretary four times on the trot. He was also the party spokesperson at the state level.
(With inputs from PTI)
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