Anandiben Patel is Gujarat’s new chief minister
Anandiben, who is a cabinet minister since 1998, is currently holding the portfolios of urban development, disaster management, road and buildings apart from revenue. Soon after the Lok Sabha poll results, her name was mentioned as a strong contender for the post.
That she would replace Modi in Gujarat became evident when she started heading important meetings of the state administration in absence of Modi because of his political preoccupations.
Another senior BJP leader Bhikhu Dalsania’s name was also there in the list. But party leaders unanimously decided to make her the next chief minister of the state. Bhikhu’s name was doing the rounds in Gujarat’s power corridor (as Modi’s successor) because of his closeness with the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. Currently, he is the organisational secretary of the party in Gujarat.
Anandiben, a former school principal, was born in Kharod village in north Gujarat and she is the longest serving BJP minister in the state. Her husband Mafatbhai Patel was a ‘Sangha’ pracharak and through him she came in contact with RSS leaders. In 1987, she formally joined the BJP and became the president of its women’s wing.
In 1998, she was first elected as an MLA from Mandal constituency in Ahmedabad district and become the minister of education and child and women welfare in the Keshubhai Patel government.
She is considered as a ‘strict and hard working’ politician and reportedly does not share cordial relationship with Modi’s close aide Amit Shah.