Is Bhupendra Patel’s appointment as CM of Gujarat a masterstroke?

India’s saffron party has chosen a new Chief Minister in PM Modi and Amit Shah’s home state Gujarat.

Former CM of Gujarat Vijay Rupani’s sudden resignation left everyone by surprise. While everyone was anticipating the new name, the reason for Rupani’s exit was not very clear.

On September 12, Bhupendra Patel was announced as the next Chief Minister of Gujarat. Patel, 61, succeeds Vijay Rupani as the 17th Chief Minister of Gujarat.

Interestingly, assembly elections in Gujarat are due late in the upcoming year. So, replacing Rupani with Patel raises questions in the mind of the people.

Vijay Rupani lost his position because of his inability to handle the crisis of COVID-19? Or Modi-Shah wanted a fresh face?

There is a striking similarity between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Dhoni is calm and composed, walks in late. Dhoni does not speak much and hits his six to turn a defeat into a victory.

Similarly, PM Modi specializes in silence. Modi walks in last makes the last move. Checkmate is his!

After the resignation of Rupani, people in Gujarat would have exchanged lakhs of messages anticipating who would be the new CM. And, all this happened in less than 24 hours.

The media discussed all the possible names for the would-be CM. But out of nowhere, a name was announced at the BJP Legislative Party meeting on Sunday.

The man whose name was announced was seated in the corner of the fourth row of 112 MLA’s. The man is none other than Bhupendra Patel.

Nobody was ready with Bhupendra Patel’s profile. So, after the announcement of his name, people were astonished. Often this happens with PM Modi his logic, can be understood only in the highlight.

Political Scenario in Gujarat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi served as the CM of Gujarat for 12 years. After that, in 2014, he became the Prime Minister of India after his landslide victory in the general elections.

But, the two CM’s who held office after PM Modi did not complete their tenure. The former CM, Vijay Rupani, is replaced with Bhupendra Patel before the assembly elections next year.

So, the pattern is similar.

Vijay Rupani succeeded Anandiben Patel in 2016. It was also just before the next general elections were due.

A brief about the new Chief Minister

 Patel started his political career as a member of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. After that, Patel became a member of the standing committee.

Mr. Patel has also headed the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority. Followed by which, he contested for the assembly elections in 2017.

The BJP party fielded Patel from Ghatlodia Constituency in Ahmedabad. Moreover, Patel belongs to the influential Patidar community and runs an engineering firm. So, Patel shares good relations with traders too.

Opinions on Patel’s appointment

Political observers think that the BJP party has gambled heavily is uplifting Patel to the highest position. The fact that Patel is not known to people outside Gujarat is a big drawback for the party. Although, the fact that Patel’s origin is from the Patidar community will work as an added advantage for the party.

According to Yamal Vyas, the spokesperson of the BJP state unit, Patel’s appointment is not a gamble.

Bhupendra Patel is an experienced leader. Also, Patel has an unblotted image. The thing of most importance is that he is the youngest among all the contenders.

Furthermore, BJP leaders in Delhi say Patel has no previous baggage attached to his name. A leader with a clean chit brings added advantages for the party.

Patels’ presence will appease Patidar satraps through the party’s high command. Such a neutral face will also help in the balancing of powers.

Patidar (or Patels) are the descendants of Lord Rama. This particular community makes up 12-14 percent of the electorate community. Not only that, Patidars are very dominating both financially and politically. The presence of the community is across Gujarat, concentrated in north Gujarat and Saurashtra.

The votes of this particular community determine the outcome in at least 70 out of the 182 assembly segments in Gujarat. Patidars are an important voter bank for the BJP party. Around one-third of BJP’s MLA’s come from this community itself.

Thus we see appointing Patel as a calculated move. Why?

First of all, because the Patel surname matters. This particular party can prove to be the game-changer for BJP. Also, Patels have traditionally voted for BJP. But lately, this community is disappointed with the government. Mainly because of the poor performance of the government.

Moreover, Gujarat is a crucial state for the BJP. Not only is the home state for PM Modi and Amit Shah. But, BJP has been in power in Gujarat for more than two decades.

Also, Bhupendra Patel is a loyalist to the saffron party. His clean image and good relations with traders are advantages for the party.

Although, political victory can never be calculated or predicted. The BJP is confident with Bhupendra Patel.

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