Bhupendra Patel will take oath as the new Chief Minister of Gujarat on Monday.
When the central leadership announced the name of Bhupendra Patel as the new chief minister at Kamalam, the Gujarat BJP’s headquarters, it was a surprise even for those who knew Narendra Modi’s style of functioning.
After the resignation of Vijay Rupani, the names of about six leaders were discussed for who would be the new Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The supporters of state president CR Patil were in such a hurry that even before the resignation of Vijay Rupani, he was written on Wikipedia as the 17th Chief Minister of the state. The matter must have reached CR Patil as well, so he released the video late on Saturday evening and said that he is not in the race to become the Chief Minister.
On Sunday, Nitin Patel, who was a strong leader and Deputy Chief Minister of the state, said on his claim, “Media is running my name on the basis of my experience, but the truth is that whoever will be decided by the BJP high command will be the Chief Minister.”
Apart from these two, the name of Praful Patel, the administrator of Lakshadweep, who is considered close to Narendra Modi, was also in the discussions. Along with this, names of contenders like Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Purushottam Rupala and former state home minister Gordhan Zadafia were also emerging.
But according to his style of working, Narendra Modi has handed over the command of Gujarat to the man whose name no one could have guessed and the world outside Gujarat had never heard of him before.
Who is Bhupendra Patel?
The command of Gujarat has now been handed over to 59-year-old Bhupendra Patel. Bhupendra Patel was elected MLA for the first time in 2017 and has been handed over the power of the state for the first time.
Hari Desai, the state’s senior political journalist, says, “That’s the way Narendra Modi works, he looks for the man who goes unnoticed. One reason for this is that he doesn’t work with anyone in the state. Don’t want to promote a strong leader.”
At first glance, it appears that the BJP has made Bhupendra Patel the chief minister to please the Patidar voters in the state. A large section of the state’s Patidar voters have been continuously angry with the Bharatiya Janata Party for some time now.
Before the 2017 assembly elections, Hardik Patel’s trumpet of protest through the Patidar movement may not have reached the mark, but those protests forced the BJP to think. Due to the displeasure of Patels, the BJP which was claiming to get 150 seats, was reduced to just 99.
Ajay Umat, senior state political journalist and group editor of ‘Nav Gujarat Samay’, says, “The BJP high command had come to the conclusion that it could not bear the loss of the Patel community, which is why Rupani was sacked and a Patel has been made the chief minister.”
In fact, the Patel community is the most politically dominant section in Gujarat and has traditionally been a supporter of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Patel voters are decisive in 71 of the state’s 182 assembly seats. At the same time, in 52 seats, their population is more than 20 percent.
BJP MLAs present at the announcement of Bhupendra Patel’s election
Importance of Patel community
This is the reason that most MLAs in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly are elected from the Patel community. In 2017, the number of such MLAs was 44 in which 28 MLAs were from BJP while 23 MLAs were elected from Congress. Patel had 47 MLAs in Gujarat in the 2012 elections. Then 36 Patel MLAs belonged to BJP.
From this perspective, the party’s hold on the Patel community was beginning to loosen. Another glimpse of Patel voters’ displeasure with the BJP came when the Aam Aadmi Party made a huge dent in the local body elections in Surat last year and won 27 seats, leaving the Congress behind.
Ajay Nayak, senior political journalist of the state, says, “The Patidar community was constantly demanding Patel Chief Minister and the way the Aam Aadmi Party is preparing to enter the entire state, it also increased the fears of the BJP high command. In such a situation, the crisis before the BJP was only to give Patel leadership, but it was also certain that Nitin Patel was not going to get a chance.
Nitin Patel was considered the biggest contender for the chief minister after 2017, but Amit Shah cleared his address by pushing Vijay Rupani on one occasion. After this, the Finance Ministry was also taken from him, but when he expressed his opposition, he got the Finance Ministry, but he became sideline due to the race for the post of Chief Minister.
There was increasing pressure on BJP to give Patel chief minister, but in the current assembly, there are only 28 BJP MLAs, and it is interesting that the six BJP leaders whose names emerged as chief ministerial candidates, all come from the Patel community. CR Patil may be from Maharashtra and in Gujarat he is recognized as an outside leader, but in Gujarat, the same person who is called Patel is called Patil in Maharashtra.
In front of these leaders, Bhupendra Patel has not been identified as the leader of the Patel community in the state, nor does he have the experience of working in any ministry, so the biggest question is, how did Bhupendra Patel manage these MLAs? overtake. In this regard, senior state political journalist Hari Desai said, “Bhupendra Patel has been the leader of Anandiben Patel’s camp. Later he also had good relations with Amit Shah, so no one had any objection to his name.
Bhupendra is special to Anandi Ben
After being elected the Chief Minister, Bhupendra Patel thanked Anandiben Patel at the Gujarat BJP headquarters and said that he has his support.
Ajay Umat says, “In today’s time, people take the name of JP Nadda or State CM after Narendra Modi, Amit Shah inside BJP. But openly Bhupendra Patel said that he is grateful to Anandi Ben. This is his Shows loyalty.”
In fact, Bhupendra Patel had contested the elections in 2017 from Ghatlodia assembly seat of Gandhi Nagar in active politics, this was the assembly constituency of Anandiben Patel and he made Bhupendra Patel the candidate from here after he was removed from the post of Chief Minister.
Ajay Umat says, “This assembly seat comes under BJP’s stronghold Gandhinagar Lok Sabha and is known as the safest seat. Anandi Ben had given ticket to Bhupendra Patel from here considering it to be a safe seat in every way.”
Political analysts in Gujarat also see this as Modi’s attempt to strike a balance of power between Amit Shah and Anandi Ben. It is noteworthy that Vijay Rupani was considered to be of Amit Shah camp.
Ajay Nayak says, “It is not hidden from anyone that BJP has two camps in Gujarat – one is Anandiben Patel’s camp and the other is Amit Shah’s. Bhupendra has been Anandiben Patel’s man. Rupani is Amit Shah’s camp. So in a way it can also be seen as a message to another camp. It is also a way of Modi’s style of working that he does not allow any camp one camp to be too powerful.”
However, Amit Shah has been among the first to congratulate Bhupendra Patel and will also attend the swearing-in ceremony on Monday.
Bhupendra Patel’s specialty is also that he has been a very low profile personality and he has not had any errogance. But his direct reach has not been to Narendra Modi. When Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra Patel was active at the municipal level.
In such a situation, it is quite possible that he would have taken this decision only on the advice of Anandiben Patel. Although Ajay Nayak points to another aspect, “There has been another big thing in Bhupendra Patel’s favour, he must have got the support of state president CR Patil as well because Patil is with Anandiben Patel these days.”
Ajay Nayak says about what benefit CR Patil will get from Bhupendra Patel becoming the Chief Minister, “The most influential leader in Gujarat BJP is still CR Patil, he is directly related to Narendra Modi, so the state organization is now with the government. He can get the work he wants. Rupani did not take much interest in the work of CR Patil or the organization, but now Bhupendra Patel will have to take interest. Due to the work of the people of the organization, the displeasure of the workers will be removed.
But the biggest question is whether the party will fight the 2022 Gujarat elections under the leadership of Bhupendra Patel? Has his arrival paved the way for BJP’s victory?
Regarding this, Hari Desai says, “The fear of BJP’s defeat in Gujarat will not go away so soon and everyone knows that this election will be fought only in the name of PM Modi. It is sure that the party will say that we have given Patel Chief Minister. Only the Patel community can save the BJP from the crisis it is in.”
On the importance of Patel voters for BJP, Ajay Umat says, “The importance of Patel community in Gujarat is the highest because these people are most effective in bureaucracy, government jobs and zamindari. The support of these people creates air and its impact on others.” Happens on communities too.”
Along with all these characteristics, another specialty of Bhupendra Patel has brought him to the post of Chief Minister. Before contesting the elections, Bhupendra Patel was the chairman of Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority, Gujarat’s most prosperous organization. In the political corridor of Gujarat, the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority is considered to be Kuber’s treasure. But they have not been in any controversy so far.
Ajay Umat says, “Bhupendra Patel’s image of an honest man must have gone to his support. He has been a man of determination to accept any challenge. During his work in Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority, he has worked for the people. was affected.”
Will Bhupendra be able to handle everyone?
According to some analysts, Bhupendra Patel may have also got the support of the party’s state treasurer Surendra Patel. Hari Desai says, “Surendra Patel has been treasurer for a long time and for the last three decades he has been mobilizing resources for the party. PM Narendra Modi has also been consulting him on Gujarat.” After being elected the Chief Minister, Bhupendra Patel was seen bowing down in the auditorium of the BJP headquarters and taking blessings of Surendra Patel.
However, due to the growing age of Surendra Patel, his activism was not as much as before and in the last few months state president CR Patil himself has emerged as the biggest fund manager of BJP in the state.
However, pointing to another peculiarity of Bhupendra Patel, Hari Desai says, “This is not the first time that a builder has been a leader in the BJP, but it is certainly the first time that a builder has become the chief minister.”
However, Bhupendra Patel has two difficult challenges right now. The first challenge is going to start with him taking charge. In the time of challenges of Kovid transition, they have to live up to the expectations of the common people.
According to Ajay Umat, “The discussion was going on that both Vijay Rupani and Nitin Patel would be discharged to overcome the anti-incumbency, this helps in reducing the resentment of the people.” In an attempt to repair the government’s bad image during the Kovid transition, Narendra Modi has not only made major changes in his cabinet but also changed his chief ministers in Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Assam in the recent past.
Vijay Rupani with PM Modi
Trying to remove anti incumbency
The second challenge is whether he will be able to align the Patel community with the BJP. Bhupendra Patel comes from the Kadva Patel community of the state and the majority of the Patel population is of Leuva Patels. Not only this, he has no identity as a leader of the Patel community.
Ajay Umat says, “This can become his specialty. Three institutions of the Patel community are very important, Khoddalham, Umiyadham and Sardardham. Bhupendra Patel is also a trustee of Sardardham, an organization working among young professionals and has taken these three institutions together. They have the advice to walk.”
Sardardham, an organization of the Patel community, is considered very important. This organization provides facilities for training, training, hostel etc. to the youth of Patel community to get government jobs.
It is an interesting coincidence that just before resigning on Saturday, Vijay Rupani had attended the program of this institution. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest of the Bhoomi Pujan program to build a girls hostel.
Narendra Modi virtually joined the ceremony at 11 am and praised the youth of Patel community and wished them a bright future.
All the big Patel leaders of BJP were present in this program. The program went on till one o’clock. It was during this event that Vijay Rupani got the message to reach the BJP headquarters and from there he went straight to the party headquarters. Where Bhupendra Yadav, who was already present as a high command representative, conveyed the message of the high command to him and after that Rupani submitted his resignation to the governor.
How low profile Bhupendra Patel is, it can be gauged from the fact that despite being the trustee of Sardardham Sanstha, he was sitting in the last row in Saturday’s event.
Narendra Modi has now put him at the forefront of Gujarat.