The 59-year-old Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel, the first Ahmedabadi chief minister of Gujarat, is also a first-time MLA, first-time minister and first Kadva Patel to take the CM’s chair seat.
Patel, an engineer and builder, is also an ardent follower of the spiritual guru Dada Bhagwan, founder of the Akram Vignan movement, a purification movement like what is practised in Jainism. The spiritual foundation has large followers in Gujarat.
According to a report in The Print, Bhupendra Patel was a frequent visitor to the Dada Bhagwan Mandir in Ahmedabad and even when he went to meet Governor Acharya Devvrat as the newly elected leader of the BJP legislature party, he stopped by at the late guru’s ‘Trimandir’ to seek blessings.
Party leaders and others who have worked with Patel say that he has humility and ability to work with anyone without ego, like his guru, Dada Bhagwan.
“Dada Bhagwan Foundation is a spiritual, non-profit organizations formed with the goal of spreading peace, harmony and ultimate bliss to the world through the science of Akram Vignan – the science of Self Realization as expounded by the Gnani Purush Shree Ambalal Muljibhai Patel, fondly known as Param Pujya Dadashri or Dada Bhagwan,” its website states.
“The satsangs are in a question-answer format and comprises of a wide variety of questions ranging from the subtlest spiritual to gross worldly issues, problems or doubts. The satsangs and Gnan Vidhi are complimentary, open to the public at large without any discrimination of caste, color, religion or creed,” it adds.
Bhupendra Patel’s family members said that he is known as Dada, which means elder brother, among his relatives and friends. His daughter-in-law also said that he is a diehard devotee of Bhagwan Dada and soon after his elevation to the top post, Patel visited the temple of Bhagwan Dada yesterday evening.
Born in Ahmedabad, Patel is an MLA from the Ghatlodia seat, previously held by former chief minister and now Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel. He won the seat by over 1.17 lakh votes in 2017, the highest margin in that poll. Ghatlodia is part of the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency represented by Shah.
Patel, who holds a diploma in civil engineering, has served as Ahmedabad municipal councillor and as the chairperson of the Standing Committee of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority. He is also a trustee at Patidar organisations Sardardham and Vishwa Umiya Foundation. With state Assembly polls scheduled in December 2022, the BJP is banking on Bhupendra Patel, a Patidar, to lead the party. In the 2017 Assembly elections, BJP won 99 of the 182 seats and Congress got 77.
Patel has never held a ministerial post, just like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was never a minister when he became Gujarat CM 20 years ago. Modi was sworn in as CM on October 7, 2001, and became an MLA on February 24, 2002, by winning the Rajkot seat bypoll. Gujarat BJP chief C R Paatil said Patel’s work at the grass root-level, his hold on the cooperative sector, association with party workers and administrative abilities were among the factors that led to his elevation.