Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Ghatlodia MLA Bhupendra Patel took oath as the 17th Chief Minister of Gujarat on Monday. Union Home Minister Amit Shah congratulated the new Chief Minister of Gujarat soon after the ceremony.
CMs of BJP ruled states, including Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Goa CM Pramod Sawant were also present at the ceremony. It is believed that Patel holds a strong influence in the Patidar community in Gujarat which the BJP has banked upon to win the upcoming elections.
Fondly addressed as ‘Dada’ by his supporters, Bhupendrabhai Rajnikanthbhai Patel is now the 17th Chief Minister of Gujarat. The announcement of the 59-year-old BJP leader’s name as the Chief Minister-elect at a legislative party meeting of the BJP on Sunday came as a surprise for many as the low-profile MLA was not seen to be among the top contenders for the post.
Born in Ahmedabad, Patel is a first-time MLA from the Ghatlodia seat, a post previously held by Anandiben Patel, who is currently serving as the Governor of Uttar Pradesh with an additional charge of Madhya Pradesh. He had won his maiden seat by a margin of 1,17,000 votes in 2017, the largest margin in that poll defeating Congress candidate Shashikant Patel. He grabbed more than 72 per cent of the vote share in the Ghatlodia constituency during the 2017 assembly polls.
Patel is, however, not a new face in politics and has served as the Ahmedabad municipal councillor. Patel, who holds a diploma in civil engineering, also served as the chairman of the Standing Committee of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA). With Assembly polls in the state scheduled to be held in 2022, BJP went with Patel, a Patidar face for the Chief Minister. He is also a trustee at Patidar organizations Sardar Dham and Vishwa Umiya Foundation.
The Patidars are a dominant caste in Gujarat with a sizeable control over the electoral votes. The community also dominates the political economy with a stronghold over education, realty and cooperative sectors. The party is counting on Patel to navigate the party through tough waters during the upcoming assembly elections in 2022. In the 2017 state election, the BJP won 99 of the state’s 182 Assembly seats, Congress got 77 seats.