After Vijay Rupani’s ‘surprise’ resignation from the post of Gujarat Chief Minister, speculation is afire on who will replace him at the top post ahead of assembly elections in the state next year. Front-runners for the position include Nitin Patel, Gordhan Jadafia, Mansukh Mandaviya, C R Patil, Parshottam Rupala, and R C Faldu, sources told News18.

Here’s some info about the leaders:

Nitin Patel: Nitin Patel is Gujarat’s deputy chief minister at the moment. He is also the finance, health, and medical education minister.

Mansukh Mandaviya: Mansukh Mandaviya is the Union Health Minister and a member of the Bhavnagar Leuva Patel community. He represents Gujarat in the Rajya Sabha.

CR Patil: CR Patil is the current state BJP unit’s leader. In the Lok Sabha, he represents Navsari.

Gordhan Zadafia: Gordhan Zadafia is a Gujarat BJP leader with Vishva Hindu Parishad background.

RC Faldu: RC Faldu is the current Cabinet Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development, and Transport and a previous head of the state BJP unit.

Parshottam Rupala: Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala serves as the Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairy in PM Modi’s Second Cabinet. He is a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat.

It is not clear what prompted the development in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state where elections to the 182-member Assembly are due in December next year. Rupani (65) was sworn in as chief minister his second stint as CM – in December 2017.

“I have resigned as chief minister of Gujarat, Rupani told reporters after meeting Governor Acharya Devvrat and submitting his resignation letter.

“I was allowed to serve the state for five years. I have contributed to the development of the state. I will further do whatever is asked by my party, Rupani said.

In BJP, there has been a tradition that responsibilities of party workers change from time to time. I will be ready to take whatever responsibility that the party will give me in the future, Rupani said.

I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving a common worker like me this opportunity to serve the people of the state as chief minister, Rupani said. Asked about reasons for his resignation, Rupani said, In BJP, it is like a relay race for party workers. One gives the baton to the other.

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