Bhupendra Patel elected to be next Gujarat chief minister
BJP MLA Bhupendra Patel will be the new chief minister of Gujarat.
Patel (59) was unanimously elected BJP legislature party leader here on Sunday. His name was proposed by CM Vijay Rupani, whose resignation from the post on Saturday surprised many.
Most of the 112 MLAs of the party in the 182-member Assembly were present at the meeting, BJP sources said.
Patel won the 2017 Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections from Ghatlodia constituency, defeating Congress candidate Shashikant Patel by over one lakh votes, the highest winning margin in the 2017 Gujarat polls.
Bhupendra Patel holds a diploma in civil engineering. Fondly called as ‘Dada’ by many, he is considered to be close to former Gujarat chief minister and now Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel. He represents the Assembly constituency that is part of the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat represented by Union minister Amit Shah.
In the past, Patel had served as the chairman of Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) between 2015 and 2017. Before that, he was also the standing committee chairman of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), the largest urban local body in Gujarat, between 2010 and 2015.
With Patel being named the new legislature party leader, the suspense over who will succeed Rupani as Gujarat chief minister has ended.
The new leader is scheduled to meet the governor and stake claim to form the government, sources said.
BJP's central observers Narendra Singh Tomar and Prahlad Joshi and party general secretary Tarun Chaug were present at the legislature party meet.
Tomar met state BJP chief C R Paatil on Sunday morning.
There was talk that Praful Khoda Patel, administrator of the Union territories of Lakshadweep and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu and Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Health Minister, were among the contenders.
Bhupendra Patel's name was not in the long list of probables being discussed in state political circles and in a way the first term MLA emerged as the dark horse, a political observer said.
He belongs to the influential Patel community. Mandaviya is from Patidar community.
People close to him know Patel, as a smiling face, who is well-connected to the grassroots.
Before contesting the Assembly election, he was active in local politics and became a member of Memnagar Municipality in Ahmedabad district, serving as its president twice.
Patel is also a trustee of Sardardham Vishwa Patidar Kendra, an organisation dedicated to the socio-economic development of the Patidar community.
Rupani (65) on Saturday resigned from the post, his sudden announcement coming over a year before the state goes to polls.
It is not clear what prompted the development in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state where elections to the 182-member Assembly are due in December 2022.
Rupani, the fourth chief minister to demit office in BJP-ruled states during the coronavirus pandemic, was sworn in as chief minister - his second stint as CM - in December 2017.
Rupani, who completed five years in office on August 7 this year, first became the chief minister on August 7, 2016, following the resignation of incumbent Anandiben Patel, and continued in the office after the BJP's victory in the 2017 Assembly elections.
• A first-time MLA from Gujarat's Ghatlodiya, he defeated Congress's Shashikant Patel by over 1 lakh votes in the 2017 assembly election
• Holds diploma in civil engineering
• Served as the chairman of Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority between 2015 and 2017
• Hails from the Patidar Community
• Trustee of Sardardham Vishwa Patidar Kendra