BJP MLA Bhupendra Patel took oath as the new chief minister of Gujarat on Monday, two days after Vijay Rupani vacated the chair. Home Minister Amit Shah and chief ministers of some BJP-ruled states attended the oath ceremony.
Patel, 59, is an MLA from Ghatlodia and his name was proposed by Rupani himself. The final decision on Patel's candidature was taken on Sunday in a BJP legislative meeting. Patel wasn't among the front-runners for the post and is said to be a 'dark horse'. Before the announcement of the new CM, the names of Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel were doing rounds.
Amid speculation that Patel will be a "remote-controlled" chief minister, Shah tweeted, "Hearty congratulations and best wishes to Bhupendra Patel on being elected the leader of the BJP's legislature unit. I'm confident that under the guidance of Narendra Modi and your leadership, Gujarat's development journey will get new energy and momentum and the state shall continue to be a leader in good governance and public welfare."
Who is Bhupendra Patel?
Bhupendra Patel is the 17th Chief Minister of Gujarat. The first-time MLA had defeated his Congress rival Shashikant Patel by 1,17,000 votes, the highest-winning margin in the 2017 Gujarat polls. However, he was not given any portfolio under the Rupani government.
Patel comes from the influential Kadva Patel community, which forms nearly 12.4 percent of the state's population. He will be the first state CM from the Kadva Patel community.
He holds a diploma in civil engineering and has worked as a corporator. He is fondly called 'Dada' by party workers as he is a devout follower of Dada Bhagwan.
Anandiben Patel’s protege
Patel started his political career from Memnagar Nagarpalika in Ahmedabad in the 1990s and served as president of the city civic body in 1999-2000 and 2004-06.
He has been a protege of former state chief minister and incumbent Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel. Before him, Anandiben Patel had won the Ghatlodia constituency in 2012. In fact, Patel is a resident of Shilaj, an upscale neighbourhood where Anandiben also has her home.
After his appointment to the coveted post, he said "the blessings of Anandiben Patel have always been with me".
Patel has served as the chairman of Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) between 2015 and 2017 before sweeping the Ghatlodia constituency. Between 2010 and 2015, Patel held the post of committee chairman of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), the largest urban local body in Gujarat. During his AMC stint, major parts of the Sabarmati riverfront project and the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) were completed.
Patel is also known for his social work in Ahmedabad. He is also a trustee of the Sardar Dham Vishwa Patidar Kendra, a social organisation working for the socio-economic development of the Patidar community.
First Published: IST