Gujarat BJP legislature party on Sunday elected 59-year old Bhupendra Patel as the next chief minister in place of Vijay Rupani who resigned on Saturday. Patel is a confidante of former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, who is now Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Patel is first time MLA from Ghatlodia. He won in 2017 elections with more than a lakh votes majority against the Congress candidate Shashikant Patel.
Bhupendra Patel belongs to Patedar or Patel community. The community factor is a very crucial issue in deciding the future chief minister. Patel community is very powerful in the State. Rupani, who was close to Amit Shah, the union home minister, had to step down following the decision taken by the party high command. Rupani was asked to step down reportedly after a survey conducted by the RSS suggested that it would be difficult for the BJP to win in 2022 election if it fights under the leadership of Rupani.
The new cabinet may not include all the members of the outgoing cabinet. The performance of some of the members of the Rupani cabinet was below the par according to the survey findings. While Rupani was the protégé of Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was unhappy with the former’s government handling of the second Covid wave. It was on prime minister’s insistence that Rupani was asked by Amit Shah to resign. It was suggested that Aam Aadmi, not the Congress which won 77 seats in 2017, was picking up at the cost of the BJP. The saffron party has been in power for 27 days. Anti-incumbency factor has been taken into consideration by the party high command in deciding to ask Rupani to put in his papers.
Patel holds a diploma in engineering from Government Polytechnic Ahmadabad. Amit Shah was against Anadiben Patel. But he too was unhappy with Rupani’s lackluster performance and agreed to Modi’s suggestion to go for a change in leadership.