If BJP wins Bhupendra Patel will be CM of Gujarat

VINOD CHANDRASHEKHAR DIXIT

Elections to the 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held in two phases next month – on December 1 and 5. In the first
phase, 89 seats will go to polls on December 1 and remaining 93 seats will go to polls on December 5 in the second
phase. Congress, had put up a strong fight in the last assembly polls, is now seeking to oust the BJP from power in
Gujarat and AAP is also seeking to make its presence felt in the state and therefore the challenge has increased in
this election. The BJP has won six consecutive assembly polls in Gujarat.
Gujarat is a stronghold of the BJP. It is the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit
Shah. The party has been in power in the western state for 27 years.It is reported that Gujarat Chief Minister
Bhupendra Patel’s name is proposed as the candidate of the Ghatlodiya constituency of Ahmedabad ahead of the state
Assembly polls. He belongs to the Kadva sub-caste of the influential Patidar community and holds a diploma in civil
engineering. Nearly 50 BJP workers unanimously demanded to give the ticket to Bhupendra Patel for the said seat.
This time it seems BJP is not fighting the Gujarat state election to avert defeat but to increase its victory margins and
win a greater number of seats in the 182-member assembly.
When the BJP came to power in the state in 1995, it won 121 seats; that peaked 127 seats with Narendra Modi as
chief minister in 2002, after the vicious riots earlier that year. In the second Modi-led election in 2007, the BJP got 117
seats; in 2012, it got 115 seats. The peak for the BJP was 127 seats and the lowest was 99. It never came close to the
record of 149 seats won by the Congress under the leadership of Madhavsinh Solanki in the year 1985. This time,
according to the opinion poll, the BJP is projected to win between 131 and 139 seats in the 182-member Gujarat
Assembly. In the previous Assembly polls in 2017, the BJP had won 99 seats. The Congress’ tally is expected to drop
precipitously from 77 seats in 2017 to between 31 and 39 seats this time. According to the P-MARQ opinion poll, the
BJP is predicted to win 127-140 seats out of the total 182 as against the 99 seats which the saffron party bagged in
last assembly election. If the BJP indeed wins 127-140 seats in the Gujarat Assembly Election 2022, the saffron party
may win the highest number of seats since 2002. The survey has put AAP below BJP and Congress, with Kejriwal’s
party expected to secure only 7-15 seats. While Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP’s performance will be satisfactory, Congress,
despite its ‘Bharat Jodo Abhiyaan’,will be left disappointed in Gujarat. No doubt, with its aggressive campaign, AAP is
projecting itself as the main challenger to BJP in the state. The Congress party suffered a significant setback when one
of its most influential figures, Ahmed Patel, died of complications related to a covid infection the previous year. Hardik
Patel, another important figure, announced his resignation from Congress earlier this year and joined BJP.
This time the arithmetic seems tilted towards the BJP as it has roped in Patidar leader Hardik Patel and OBC leader
Alpesh Thakor under its fold.
Bhupendra Patel will remain the chief minister of Gujarat if BJP secures a majority in the next month’s Assembly
elections. Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Ghatlodia MLA Bhupendra Patel took oath as the 17th Chief Minister of
Gujarat. It is believed that Patel holds a strong influence in the Patidar community in Gujarat which the BJP has
banked upon to win the upcoming elections.The Patidars are a dominant caste in Gujarat with a sizeable control over
the electoral votes. The community also dominates the political with a stronghold over , realty and
cooperative sectors. Patel is now the 17th Chief Minister of Gujarat.Born in Ahmedabad, Patel is a first-time MLA from
the Ghatlodia seat, a post previously held by Anandiben Patel, who is currently serving as the Governor of Uttar
Pradesh with an additional charge of Madhya Pradesh.
He had won his maiden seat by a margin of 1,17,000 votes in 2017, the largest margin in that poll defeating
Congress candidate Shashikant Patel. He grabbed more than 72 per cent of the vote share in the Ghatlodia
constituency during the 2017 assembly polls. There are many who think how PM Modi picked BhupendraPatel as CM
but, Patel is not a new face in politics and has served as the Ahmedabad municipal councillor. Patel, who holds a
diploma in civil engineering, also served as the chairman of the Standing Committee of Ahmedabad Municipal
Corporation and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA). From 1960 until 1995 they were all from the Indian
Congress party, except for eight years when the opposition Janata Party/Janata Dal ruled. Since 1995,
however, the Bharatiya Janata Party has dominated, controlling the Chief Minister for all except 18 months.Bhupendra
Patel, an engineer, builder and ardent follower of the spiritual guru Dada Bhagwan, founder of the AkramVignan
movement, a purification movement like what is practised in Jainism.
Patel, who rose from the ranks having won elections from the Memnagar Nagarpalika in 1990s, the area now a part
of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation limits, will also be the first chief minister from Ahmedabad- Gujarat’s
capital and its largest city. Patel, who started out running a shop selling fire crackers in Dariapur in Ahmedabad’s
walled city area, represents Ghatlodia, a BJP bastion. He had fought his first major election in 2010 as corporator from
the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and went on to become the standing committee chairperson, in the first
term itself. In 2017, his first Assembly election, Patel defeated Congress candidate Shashikant Patel by over one lakh
votes, considered to be the highest winning margin. Holding a diploma in civil engineering, Patel is in the real-estate
business for the last 25 years and therefore his appointment will also be accepted by the powerful builder community.
His public life has been without controversy and people describe him as not being “very ambitious”.
The Gujarat contest this time will be more interesting. Gujarat has been a BJP throttlehold for a long time, and the
party has set its sights on returning to power with a handsome majority this time. If BJP gets a majority in Gujarat,
Bhupendra Patel will be the next chief minister and Gujarat will break all records and will win with the most number of
seats.

dixitpatrakar@yahoo.in