Gujarat has been at the heart of Indian politics in the last two decades because of Narendra Modi. Since 2014 the year Modi elected as Prime Minister and moved to Delhi, BJP has been failed to get a leader of Modi’s stature. The ruling party has experimented with Anandiben Patel Ghatlodia (CM between 2014-16), Vijay Rupani (CM between 2017-2021), and Bhupendra Patel (incumbent CM since 2021). It would be interesting to see whether the saffron party bank on CM Patel and contest upcoming elections under his leadership. All eyes are on Gujarat as a high-stakes assembly election is due in the state in December 2022.
Will BJP go with Bhupendra Patel?
It’s unlikely that the ruling party will change the CM’s face in assembly elections as BJP drew criticism from Opposition parties over frequent changes of the CMs in states like Uttarakhand and Karnataka. The replacement of Patel may spark rumours that Patel was an underperformer or allegedly involved in some wrongdoing which is why he was ousted from the top post.
What may go in favour of Bhupendra Patel?
The surname ‘Patel’ means so much in Gujarat politics. The sudden rise of Hardik Patel on the horizon of state politics manifests how politically powerful the community ‘Patel’ is. 13% of voters in the states are Patels, and they hold huge social and political influence in the state. Eight chief ministers out of 17 were from the Patel community. Bhupendra belongs to a Kadwa Patidar, one sect of the Patidar community who was reportedly upset with the ruling party, and they have supported Hardik Patel. Bhupendra’s elevation as CM was seen as a bid to appease the Kadwa Patidars.
CM Patel, who replaced CM Vijay Rupani on September 13, 2021, was not only the first-time chief minister but also the first-time minister of Gujarat.
Who is Bhupendra Patel, and What earned him the party’s favour?
Bhupendrabhai Rajnikantbhai Patel started his political career in municipal bodies of Ahmedabad and was later elected a member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly representing the Ghatlodia constituency, Ahmedabad, in 2017. Patel has been associated with the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) for a long time and is considered a close aide of former CM Anandiben Patel. His constituency falls in the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat represented by Union Minister Amit Shah. Patel also served as the chairman of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority and president of Memnagar Nagarpalika.
Political Career And Background
CM Patel was born in the Gujarati Kadava Patidar-kurmi family in Ahmedabad on July 15, 1962. He completed his Civil Engineering Diploma from the Government Polytechnic, Ahmedabad, in 1982. Patel is a builder by profession, but he spent all his active years in social and political activism. Patel held sever posts in over a 4-decade-long career in politics -trustee of Sardardham Vishwa Patidar Kendra, chairman of the standing committee of Vishwa Umiya Foundation, and member of Akram Vignan Movement founded by Dada Bhagwan.
The recent hooch tragedy in Gujarat embarrassed the party in and out of the state. There is speculation that a new entrant into the BJP, Hardik Patel, may replace him to give a spin in the elections as the saffron party used the strategy in Assam to hit rival Congress. Meanwhile, the upcoming election will be a litmus test for him as the Opposition is very aggressive over several issues, especially on law and order situations.