Bhupendra Patel is a Patidar
The Patidar community, which is the BJP’s main vote bank, has been seen as moving away from it in recent years. This was reflected in the local organ elections in February, where although the BJP won almost all organs, the Aam Aadmi (AAP) party broke into Surat, where party leader CR Paatil is located, to become the main opposition within the municipal corporation, fueled by anti-BJP Patidar votes.
The death of the late BJP CM Keshubhai Patel last year created a void in the community, as he dared to stand up to fight the BJP in 2012, supported by several of its Patidar leaders. The young leaders of Patidar had openly started to demand that the next MC be from the community.
In addition, the recent Jan Ashirwad Yatra after the enlargement of the union cabinet where union ministers and senior party leaders praised the importance given to CBOs in central government, began to be seen as the BJP standing out more. des Patidars.
The 2015 quota turmoil, led by Hardik Patel, then a low-profile youth leader, was proof that the community which is largely agrarian, Orthodox, and among the wealthiest in Gujarat, felt the need to do part of government systems. Most of the Patidars are entrepreneurs, but the turmoil has made the community aware of the need to be part of government and therefore benefit from quotas that could give their children access to higher education and jobs.
Therefore, it became necessary for the BJP to appeal for a Patidar under whose leadership the elections would be held in Gujarat next year. Bhupendra Patel is the fifth CM of Gujarat of the Patidar community; the others being Anandiben Patel, Keshubhai Patel, Babubhai Patel and Chimanbhai Patel.
The release of Anandiben Patel
Anandiben Patel was forced to resign after the party harshly lost the local elections, in large part due to Patidars’ disillusionment over the unrest of quotas demanding CBO status for them. In 2016, the public flogging of Dalits in Una, which took place nationwide ahead of the Uttar Pradesh election, gave the party more reason to make changes.
However, the party did not fare very well in the 2017 Assembly elections where it won just 99 of 182 seats, its worst result since 1995. Keshubhai had a similar unceremonious exit in 2001, which had led to revolts within the BJP, in particular the BJP. Patidars of Saurashtra, leading to the formation of the MahaGujarat Janata Party (MJP) under the leadership of Gordhan Zadafia, and in 2012 the Gujarat Parivartan Separatist Party (GPP) under the leadership of Keshubhai. The GPP won two seats in the Assembly election that year.
Despite the BJP’s resounding victory in local elections held earlier this year, the fragmentation of Patidar votes became evident and the party saw fit to extend an olive branch to the community. Patel, being of the Anandiben team, and the decision bearing the seal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also marks the return of a Patidar as CM. This could give the BJP the support of several social, religious and community organizations led or dominated by the Patidars.
An uncontroversial decision
Patel, who came out of the ranks after winning the Memnagar Nagarpalika election in the 1990s, the region now part of the municipal society boundaries of Ahmedabad, will also be the chief prime minister of the economic capital of Ahmedabad- Gujarat and its largest city. Patel, who started running a shop selling firecrackers in Dariapur, in the fortified area of Ahmedabad, represents Ghatlodia, a stronghold of the BJP. He had participated in his first major election in 2010 as a corporator of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and became the chairman of the standing committee, during the first term itself.
In 2017, in his first Assembly election, Patel defeated Congress candidate Shashikant Patel by more than a lakh of votes, considered the biggest margin of victory. With a degree in Civil Engineering, Patel has been in the real estate business for 25 years, so his appointment will also be accepted by the powerful community of builders. His public life has been uncontroversial and people describe him as not “very ambitious”.
Balancing the Anandiben-Amit Shah Equation
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben and Union Home Secretary Amit Shah are considered Modi’s closest confidants, but are also known to disagree. Rupani’s 2016 appointment as CM bore the Shah’s seal, and the party’s retirement from Anandiben on the basis of a standard that no leadership positions were given to people over 75, was not well received in the ranks.
Many workers and veteran BJP leaders do not like the strategy of rewarding renegades in Congress with powerful positions in an effort to attract their vote banks, a trend more observed since the 2017 elections in Rajya Sabha. While Shah’s loyalists are happy that he became the premier of co-operatives, a powerful sector that had helped Congress stay in power and now belongs to the BJP, Anandiben loyalists were to be equally rewarded. .
Anandiben’s son-in-law Jayesh Patel is one of the trustees of the Sabarmati Harijan Ashram Trust, which owns much of the land proposed to be part of the redevelopment project funded by the Union Ministry of Culture and executed by the government of Gujarat. Sources claim that Shah also endorsed Patel’s appointment as CM as someone who previously held important responsibilities in his constituency of Gandhinagar Lok Sabha. The Ghatlodia Assembly constituency of Patel is part of the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency.
2022 Gujarat Assembly Elections
The BJP has reportedly decided to settle for one MP as chief minister so as not to go through another poll. Home to the Prime Minister and now a host of powerful Union government ministers, assembly elections in Gujarat next year are crucial for the BJP. The electoral landscape in Gujarat was already changing with the creation of spaces for parties like the AAP and All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) which won seats in the municipal elections of Surat and Ahmedabad, encouraging them to fight in the Assembly polls. The weakened and fragmented Congress has only strengthened these forces. The BJP, which has ruled Gujarat since 1995, except for the brief period in which the Shankersinh Vaghela rebellion led to a government unsupported by the BJP, opposition to power will also be an important factor that it will have to do. combat.
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