Bhupendra Patel, a first-time MLA and Anandiben Patel’s close aide, made new Chief Minister of Gujarat

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Updated: September 12, 2021 6:48 PM

The change in leadership came after an unprecedented resignation from Vijay Rupani, which came just a year ahead of the assembly polls in the state. 

The change in leadership came after an unprecedented resignation from Vijay Rupani, which came just a year ahead of the assembly polls in the state. (Express Photo)

Bhupendra Patel, the member of legislative assembly from Ghatlodia constituency, has been elected as the new chief minister of Gujarat. The announcement was made following a BJP state legislative party meeting in Gandhinagar, chaired by party’s national observers – Union Ministers Pralhad Patel and Narendra Singh Tomar.

The new leader met Governor Acharya Devvrat at Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar to stake claim to form the government. State BJP chief CR Patil said that Patel will take oath as the chief minister on Monday.

The change in leadership came after an unprecedented resignation from Vijay Rupani, which came just a year ahead of the assembly polls in the state. Bhupendra Patel’s name was proposed by Rupani, who stepped from the top post on Sunday.

Following Patel’s election as the new chief minister, outgoing CM Rupani said: “Bhupendra Patel is capable. We believe BJP will win the upcoming elections in the state under his leadership.”

Patel won the 2017 Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections from Ghatlodia constituency, defeating Congress candidate Shashikant Patel. Patel had won his seat by a margin of over 1,17,000 votes in the 2017 assembly polls. Anandiben Patel had represented the Ghatlodiya constituency before she was appointed Governor.

Bhupendra Patel, a first-time MLA, is a member of the Patidar community. He has also held the positions of president of Memnagar municipality in Ahmedabad, standing committee chairman of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority.

He holds a diploma in civil engineering and is considered close to former CM Anandiben Patel, who won from the seat in 2012 polls.

Several names, including Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, were doing the rounds for the coveted post ahead of the BJP parliamentary party meeting today. The names also included those of Mansukh Mandaviya and Parshottam Rupala. While Rupani’s announcement came as an unprecedented move, it is believed that the leadership change was a pre-decided move by the central leadership.

Bhupendra Patel’s name was not in the long list of probables being discussed in state political circles and in a way the first term MLA emerged as the dark horse, news agency PTI quoted a political observer as saying.

Rupani (65), the fourth chief minister to demit office in BJP-ruled states during the coronavirus pandemic, was sworn in as chief minister – his second stint as CM – in December 2017. “I have resigned as chief minister of Gujarat,” Rupani told reporters after meeting Governor Acharya Devvrat and submitting his resignation letter.

“I was allowed to serve the state for five years. I have contributed to the development of the state. I will further do whatever is asked by my party,” said Rupani, who completed five years in office on August 7 this year.

He first became the chief minister on August 7, 2016, following the resignation of incumbent Anandiben Patel, and continued in the office after the BJP’s victory in the 2017 Assembly elections.

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