After Vijay Rupani, Gujarat's former Chief Minister handed in his resignation along with his cabinet, on Saturday the 11th of September, the Bharatiya Janata Party has put Bhupendra Patel to the task of being the 17th CM of the state, taking oath on Monday.
BJP’s choice of the 59- year old first-time legislator came as a surprise to many, as he was not seen as a top contender for the office of CM, having only been a low-profile leader in the party’s cadre. The party after announcing its new face for the Gujarat government added that the decision of the new cabinet will also be taken in some time.
The Governor of Gujarat invited Bhupendra Patel to take the oath as the new Gujarat chief minister on Monday afternoon. "The newly appointed leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party's Legislature Party, Bhupendrabhai Patel, presented a proposal to form a new government under his leadership at the Raj Bhavan. Accepting the proposal, he was invited to take oath as the Chief Minister on September 13, 2021, at 2:20 pm," tweeted the Governor.
Patel met Acharya Devvratm the Governor of the state at Raj Bhavan along with his predecessor Vijaya Rupani, and other eminent leaders from the BJP in the government.
Bhupendra Patel is the MLA from the Ghatlodia seat, which was previously held by Anandiben Patel, a former Chief Minister of Gujarat, now the Governor of Uttar Pradesh and a noteworthy female leader in BJP’s cadre. Patel won his seat with over 117,000 votes in 2017, which was the largest margin of defeat in the polls. Ghatlodia is also part of the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat represented by Amit Shah.
Bhupendra Patel is known to have a good connection with Anandiben Patel and also Amit Shah, which might be speculated to have played a role in his sudden rise in ranks.
Bhupendra Patel has served as the Ahmedabad municipal councillor. Patel, who holds a diploma in civil engineering, also served as the chairperson of the Standing Committee of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA).
The first time MLA and now a CM was chosen over BJP leaders like Nitin Patel, the outgoing Deputy CM of the state, who before the announcement by the BJP was one the favourites to hold the positions of CM, after Rupani’s resignation.
Bhupendra Patel belongs to the dominant Patidar caste, which has a sizeable control over the Gujarat electoral votes and also dominates the political economy with a stronghold in education, realty and cooperative sectors.
The BJP who is to fight and try to hold its Gujarat assembly fort seems to do course correction after being unhappy with Rupani being the party’s leader in office, right before the 2022 assembly election. Now newly elected CM Bhupendra Patel is to lead the party ahead of the elections.
-Supratik Mitra (13/09/21)