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Why Bhupendra Patel Remains Modi-Shah’s Reliable Choice to Run BJP’s Juggernaut in Gujarat

If the BJP wins a majority in Gujarat parliamentary elections scheduled for next month, Bhupendra Patel will remain the party’s top ministerial pick, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in an interview with CNN-News18 on Monday .

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Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah at News18’s Gujarat Adhiveshan event on November 14, 2022. (News18)

The BJP is looking at its seventh consecutive term in the home state of Prime Minister Modi and Shah. Patel as the face of the party for the Gujarat elections is confirmed, and political pundits over time have cited several reasons why the saffron party has stuck to its choice in Gujarat. News18 explains a few:

Patel doesn’t take luggage

To replace former Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, Patel seemed an almost ideal choice for the BJP. According to reports, Patel has an impeccable image and, most importantly, he was the youngest candidate for the position. BJP leaders in New Delhi were quoted by India Today that because he brought no baggage to the position, he would be “much easier to control and appease Patidar satraps through party high command.” “A leader with a clean slate has an advantage. It helps balance power,” said a leader in Delhi.

Top Gujarat BJP leaders including CM Bhupendra Patel meet Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi. (Twitter file)

Patels: an important voice bank

Patidars (or Patels) claim to be descendants of Lord Ram. The community represents 12-14 percent of the electorate, but is extremely powerful, both financially and politically, and is spread across the state, with a concentration in northern Gujarat and Saurashtra. In at least 70 of the 182 editing segments, their votes determine the outcome. They are an important voting bloc for the BJP, accounting for a third of its MLAs.

According to a report by the Indian Express states. This was reflected in the February local elections where, despite the BJP winning almost all organs, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stormed into Surat, home of state party chief CR Paatil, to become the main opposition of the municipal corporation . by anti-BJP Patidar votes.

The death of the late BJP CM Keshubhai Patel last year left a void in the community as he had dared to fight the BJP back in 2012 backed by many of his Patidar leaders. Younger Patidar leaders had openly demanded that the next CM be elected from the community, I.E reported.

The BJP has also performed admirably in the two elections it has faced: the one for the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation and nearly 9,000 gram panchayats. Although the BJP won 41 of the Gandhinagar corporation’s 44 seats, it is estimated to have won more than 70% of the gram panchayat seats, which are not contested on party lines.

A ‘steady’ hand during the rule

According to another report from the Indian Express, the BJP has also performed well in the two elections under Bhupendra: the one for the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation and nearly 9,000 gram panchayats. While the BJP won 41 out of 44 Gandhinagar seats, it is estimated that it won more than 70% of the gramme panchayat seats, which are not contested on party lines, the report said.

The report also quotes a senior party executive as saying that the “CM is a man who makes decisions slowly but surely, within his “constraints”.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will fight the state assembly elections from the Ghatlodiya seat. (Twitter photo)

He adds that he does not believe the Bhupendra Patel government was appointed in the hope of “performing a miracle”, pointing out that the order was clear: not to make big mistakes.

The leader goes on to say that given Bhupendra’s lack of experience in the top position and the current difficult times, he deserved credit for not making bad decisions. “And when mistakes were made (such as not appointing an OBC committee in time to meet a court requirement, or the cattle law), the damage was quickly contained,” they said.

‘No problem with what everyone eats’

Reports also credit Patel for not allowing his government to be “bogged down by unnecessary squabbles typically associated with the BJP and often fueled by outfits affiliated with it.”

As an IE report argues, at the height of protests by some BJP leaders against the sale of non-vegetarian food on the street, one of Patel’s strongest public statements was that his government “had no problem with what anyone ate”.

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