Bhupendra Patel, the BJP MLA from Ghatlodia constituency, has been named the new chief minister of Gujarat, two days after Vijay Rupani tendered his resignation in an unprecedented move on Saturday. The decision was taken at the BJP legislative party meeting in Gandhinagar on Sunday.
Patel is a first-time MLA who has previously held the positions of president of Memnagar Municipality in Ahmedabad, and the standing committee chairman of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority.
The 59-year-old won the 2017 state assembly polls from Ghatlodia constituency, defeating Congress candidate Shashikant Patel by a margin of over 1,17,000 votes, the highest winning margin the polls back then.
Bhupendra Patel is considered close to former Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel, who won from the seat in 2012 polls and held it before she was appointed Governor. He holds a diploma degree in civil engineering and belongs to the Kadva sub-caste of Patidar community.
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, a political observer was quoted by PTI as saying.
Given that Patel belongs to the influential Patidar community, political experts are looking at the political motive behind his selection as the community has been upset with the BJP and have been demanding that a member of the community be picked for the top post.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, administrator of the UTs of Lakshwadeep and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu Praful Khoda Patel and Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya were among the list of contenders for the post.