Politics

Bhupendra Patel is the new Chief Minister of Gujarat

Published : September 13, 2021 16:42 IST

Bhupendra Patel after he was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, on September 13. Photo: AMIT DAVE/REUTERS

The central high command of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has appointed Bhupendra Patel, a senior BJP leader in Gujarat, as the State’s new Chief Minister following the surprise resignation of Vijay Rupani on September 11.

The central high command of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has appointed Bhupendra Patel, a senior BJP leader in Gujarat, as the State’s new Chief Minister following the surprise resignation of Vijay Rupani on September 11. Bhupendra Patel, a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Ghatlodia, was sworn in on September 13.

Bhupendra Patel (59), an outlier of sorts, is believed to have pipped the other contenders to the post because he belongs to the powerful Patidar community. The highly influential and large community has been clamouring for one of theirs to become the State’s Chief Minister and Bhupendra Patel’s appointment is being viewed as a calculated strategy to appease the community before the 2022 Assembly elections.

Rupani had not given a specific reason for this resignation. He said he was stepping down in the larger interest of the State and was following the party’s tradition of giving senior members an equal opportunity to hold a position in high office. However, people in Gujarat feel that Rupani’s poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis has severely damaged the BJP’s image. He needed to go in order for the BJP to prop up its flagging popularity, especially with the Assembly elections looming large.

Bhupendra Patel’s reported proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home minister Amit Shah apparently gave him an edge over the others. He is a first-time MLA from the same constituency that was held by Anandiben Patel, former Gujarat Chief Minister and current Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Observers say he is a confidante of Anandiben Patel and part of the inner circle of the BJP. He is a former corporator of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). He was chairman of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority and was part of various committees in the AMC.

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