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VIJAYAIn a surprise decision, Vijay Rupani was today chosen as the new Chief Minister of Gujarat by the BJP legislators to succeed Anandiben Patel, who resigned on Wednesday.

Rupani emerged as the choice for the top slot at the legislature party meeting attended by BJP chief Amit Shah and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, though it was widely speculated that the mantle would fall on Nitin Patel.

After the meeting Gadkari announced that Rupani would be the new Chief Minister of Gujarat.

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Rupani would be tasked with leading the party in the assembly polls due next year, overcoming the multiple challenges faced by it in the home state of prime minister Narendra Modi.

Anandiben Patel announced her decision to resign through a Facebook post last week, saying she thought it fit to step down since as she will turn 75 this November, the age cap set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the central and the state ministries.

BJP president Amit Shah has since yesterday held deliberations with party leaders to finalise the candidate.

BJP’s parliamentary board accepted Anandiben Patel’s offer to resign on Monday at its meeting in Delhi, setting in motion the process of choosing the new Chief Minister.

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The BJP, in power in Gujarat for long, has been facing grim challenges like Patel quota stir and Dalit unrest in the wake of widely condemned dalit flogging incident in Una apart from reversals in rural areas in civic polls, which together seem to have dented its image and support base, prompting Aanandiben to quit.