New Delhi: Ghatlodiya MLA Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel on September 13 took oath as the new Gujarat Chief Minister after the unexpected resignation of former state CM Vijay Rupani.
The 59-year-old was named at the BJP’s Legislature party meeting – held a day after the sudden resignation of Vijay Rupani – to elect a new chief ministerial face in the presence of central observers Union Ministers Narendra Tomar, Prahlad Joshi and party general secretary Tarun Chaug. Bhupendra’s name was proposed by CM Rupani.
Who is Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel
-Bhupendra Patel is a first-time MLA from Gujarat’s Ghatlodiya who won the 2017 assembly election against the Congress’s Shashikant Patel by more than 1 lakh votes, the highest margin that year.
-He is said to be a confidante of UP Governor and former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, who won from the seat in 2012 polls and held it before she was appointed Governor.
-As the new Gujarat CM belongs to the Kadva sub-caste of Patidar community, it is looked as BJP’s move to appease this powerful and politically volatile community that constitutes nearly 14% population and could not be ignored as the state is going into assembly elections next year.
-He holds a diploma in civil engineering from the Government Polytechnic Ahmedabad and had declared more than ₹ 5 crore in assets in his 2017 election papers.
-Bhupendra Patel’s nomination for the CM post was a surprise decision by BJP as he was not listed among the main contenders after Vijay Rupani’s exit, according to party sources. Also he is a first-time MLA and has never been a minister and has a clean slate and a fresh face.
-Mr Patel is the first chief minister from Ahmedabad city. He represents the real estate industry and has held the positions of chairman of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) in the past and has also led the Standing Committee of Amdavad Municipal Corporation (AMC).
Why BJP picked Bhupendra Patel for Gujarat CM post
There are a various reasons why Bhupendra Patel was picked up from the list of probable and improbable names, including that of Amit Shah but there are two major takeaways. One, because he comes from a Patidar community and BJP realize the power of this community in politics as it has a first-hand experience in 2017 when it attempted to crush Hardik Patel’s reservation agitation and tasted defeat by seven seats to bag 99 in the 182-member House. Two, there is no Patidar chief minister or state BJP president, and significantly, they praised the Aam Aadmi Party. While, the AAP is trying to find a constituency among them, BJP picked a Patidar who is a first-time MLA, has never been a minister, has a clean slate and a fresh face, just like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had never been a minister when he became Gujarat CM 20 years ago. Modi sworn in as CM on October 7, 2001, and became an MLA on February 24, 2002, by winning the Rajkot seat bypoll.
Before Rupani, Yediyurappa of Karnataka, and Tirath Singh Rawat and Trivendra Rawat of Uttarakhand have recently stepped down before completing their tenure as CM.
Patel’s appointment as Rupani’s successor has come as a surprise for many. The new CM was picked a day after Rupani, 65, abruptly resigned from his post without giving any reasons. Elections are due to the 182-member Gujarat assembly in December 2022.