On Saturday, September 11, after Vijay Rupani tendered his resignation as chief minister of Gujarat, there were several names. However, the BJP sprung a surprise by electing Buhpendra Rajnikant Patel, a first-time MLA, for the top job. Patel was sworn in on Monday, September 13, in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah. The Cabinet members will be sworn in separately after the party decides the names.
The 59-year-old is the 17th Chief Minister and the first member of the Kadva sub-caste of the Patidar community. The Patidars are a dominant caste with a sizeable control over the economy, especially in the cooperative sector, real estate, education and construction. The community is said to form the backbone of the BJP in Gujarat. He is one of the trustees of Sardardham, the Patidar community organisation.
Born on July 15, 1962, Patel has a diploma in civil engineering and is a member of the Gujarat Institute of Civil Engineers and Architects (GICEA), Patel's political career began in the 1990s from Memnagar Nagarpalika in Ahmedabad. He served as president of the city civic body in 1999-2000 and 2004-06. He has also been in the real estate business for 15 years.
Patel contested his primary election in 2010 as a corporator from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) from Thaltej ward and became the standing committee chairperson. from 2010-2015.
In 2015, he was the chairman of Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) and sanctioned several development projects in the Bopal-Ghuma area, The Indian Express reported.
In 2017, he won the elections with a record margin of over 1 lakh votes and became the MLA from the Ghatlodia constituency, defeating Congress candidate Shashikant Patel. It was the highest winning margin in the elections.
Former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel is considered one of Patel's mentors, who currently is the Governor of Uttar Pradesh.
"The blessings of Anandiben Patel have always been with me," he told the media and expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.