Bhupendra Patel, sworn in as the 17th chief minister of Gujarat on Monday, has had a phenomenal rise in state politics.
IMAGE: Union Home Minister Amit Shah congratulates the new Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendra Patel during a swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar. Photograph: PTI Photo
After Vijay Rupani’s sudden resignation on Saturday, the names of many Patidar community leaders were doing the rounds as his replacement but the 59-year-old first-term MLA was nowhere in the reckoning.
Patel’s elevation to the coveted post is being attributed to his closeness to former Gujarat chief minister and current Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel.
Both have residences in the same locality in Ahmedabad.
Unanimously elected the state BJP legislature party leader on Sunday, Patel, whose Ghatlodia assembly constituency is part of the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat represented by Union minister Amit Shah, is known as a soft-spoken person who made his way up in the state politics from the municipality level.
Expected to lead the BJP into the 2022 assembly polls, Patel contested his maiden assembly election from Ghatlodia constituency in Ahmedabad in 2017 and won it by a margin of over 1.17 lakh votes, a record during that election.
Fondly called ‘Dada’ by many, Patel was the chairman of Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority between 2015 and 2017.
He was also the standing committee chairman of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, the largest urban local body in Gujarat, between 2010 and 2015.
Before contesting the assembly election, he was active in local politics and was a member of the Memnagar Municipality in Ahmedabad district, serving as its president twice.
Patel is also a trustee of Sardardham Vishwa Patidar Kendra, an organisation dedicated to the socio-economic development of the Patidar community.
Married to Hetalben, a homemaker, Patel was born in Ahmedabad and has lived and worked in the city, and also travelled to many parts of the world.
Patel, who holds a diploma in civil engineering, is fond of spiritual activities and likes cricket and badminton, an aide says.
A member of the Gujarat Institute of Civil Engineers and Architects, Patel has been in the real estate business for over two decades.
“His real estate business has largely remained confined to Ahmedabad. Over the decade or so, he has not been that active in the construction business due to his involvement in politics,” a party worker said.