Vijay Rupani’s surprise successor Bhupendra Patel’s journey is that of an engineer to the Gujarat CM. A long-time associate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, CM Patel’s Chief Ministership is an interesting one as he is just a first-time MLA who took his seat back in 2017. Back in 2017, he was appointed the MLA after he defeated his Congress opponent Shashikant Patel.
The past 3 days have been a whirlwind in Gujarat political landscape. It all started on Saturday, September 11 when Vijay Rupani officially resigned as Gujarat’s CM, surprising all.
The move was all the more surprising as it came before the Gujarat assembly elections, scheduled for 2022.
On Saturday, September 11, Vijay Rupani submitted his resignation at the Gujarat Raj Bhavan at the state capital. The news spread like wildfire and the official word was that Rupani’s resignation came on Bharatiya Janta Party high command’s insistence.
Like clockwork, media and masses went on a massive speculating streak as to who BJP will announce as the next CM of the state.
This led to multiple credible names thrown in the gamut, including Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, the deputy CM of Gujarat, Nitin Mehta, and even Praful Patel, the controversial Daman and Diu U/T Administrator.
Bhupendra Patel – The Low Key Trailblazer
The name didn’t include Bhupendra Patel – a urban face, who has been known for being a trail blazing leader from Ahmedabad, thanks to his extensive experience in civic bodies and politics.
Many political pundits are claiming that Mr. Patel’s appointment as Gujarat CM comes thanks to his low-profile, and his mellow mannerism. Known for being an approachable leader, Patel has been part of neither blazing limelight nor dark infamous incidents.
Fair Appointment or Appeasement to Patidar Community?
Interestingly enough, it’s also being speculated that his appointment as Gujarat CM is to appease the Patidar community. Sure enough, a body of Patidar community was the first one to wish him after his appointment as Gujarat CM (Vishwa Umiya Foundation).
For context, the Patidar community is one of the most influential community in the state. While they only attribute to about 12-15% of the overall population, in Assembly, every third MLA is a Patel or a Patidar.
Bhupendra Patel – The Civil Engineer
In 1982, Mr. Patel secured a diploma in civil engineering from an Ahmedabad based college, and ventured into the world of construction. As he made his name in the construction sector, he was approached by CM Anandiben Patel in 1987. He joined the BJP thereafter.
After being appointed in the saffron party, Mr. Patel became the councilor in the Memnagar nagarpalika and went on to become the nagarpalika’s standing committee chairman. He slowly but surely climbed the rungs and became the civic body’s president.
Becoming Civic Body’s Chairman
He was called back to serve as the President of nagarpalika back in 2004, and continued to do so for another 2 and a half years (2006). The nagarpalika then merged with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and he served as the Ahmedabad Municipal School Board vice-chairman.
During his stint as the AMC chairman, several phases of the Sabarmati riverfront project and the Bus Rapid Transit System saw the light of the day.
Realizing PM Modi’s Infrastructural Vision for Ahmedabad
While former CM Vijay Rupani was blamed for mismanaging the COVID-19 crisis, CM Patel oversaw the completion of the SVP hospital, Ahmedabad’s second biggest COVID-19 hospital.
He also served as the chairman of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority in 2015. As the chairman, he went on to turn former CM and current PM Modi’s infrastructural vision for the state and Ahmedabad a reality.