73-year-old Patel’s name was proposed and adopted unanimously at a meeting of the Legislature Party in the presence of Modi, who had momemnts earlier had resigned as the chief minister.
Modi’s close aide Amit Shah and BJP General Secretary Thavar Chand Ghelot were also present.
Modi, the longest-serving chief minister of the state, who led BJP to a spectacular victory in the Lok Sabha elections, will take over as prime minister on Monday. She will be the first woman chief minister of Gujarat.
In her acceptance speech, Patel turned emotional and thanked Modi and others for making her the chief minister.
Patel, considered to be very close to Modi, is minister of Revenue and Urban Development in the Modi government.
She was also a minister in the government of Modi’s predecessor Keshubhai Patel.
A school teacher by profession, she had left her job to join politics.
The Modi loyalist was being seen as a natural successor to him as she headed the group of ministers tasked with the responsibility to run the state’s day-to-day affairs during his hectic Lok Sabha campaign.
Patel held important portfolios of urban development, revenue and disaster management and was earlier in charge of education ministry, driving successfully some of the key Modi projects, including the one for boosting female literacy.
The choice of Patel, a former school teacher, also takes into account the BJP’s social arithmetic as the community to which she belongs is the largest and most influential in the state and the backbone of its support base for over two decades.
Modi praised Patel, his trusted Cabinet colleague, saying she was the only minister to have served for sixteen years at a strech during which she successfully handled around 10 departments.
“She will be the first Chief Minister who has a gold medal in MSc and also the President’s Medal,” he said.
“This is for the first time that Gujarat will get a woman chief minister and I am sure that development under her will be good,” Modi said.
Earlier in the day, Modi, who powered BJP to a spectacular win in the Lok Sabha polls, surmounting sustained onslaught by political opponents over the 2002 communal riots, resigned as Chief Minister and MLA before bidding an emotional farewell to the state he ran with an iron fist.
He fought back tears as he wished Gujarat to “surge ahead” after his departure from the state and sought forgiveness if he had done “anything wrong”. “Forgive me if I have done anything wrong.
“Today is the day of forgiveness. I respect you all and this House. I especially thank the opposition,” Modi, said in a voice filled with emotions as members of the Gujarat assembly bid him farewell at a special session