For the second time in little over a year, Nitin Patel, among the senior-most BJP leaders in Gujarat, and the one with vast experience in the government, was appointed as the state’s deputy CM.The first time it happened was in August last year, after Anandiben Patel’s abrupt resignation as CM. A staunch loyalist of Narendra Modi, Nitin Patel was actually seen as the front-runner for taking over as CM, but in a last-minute change, BJP picked Vijay Rupani as chief minister, and Patel was appointed his deputy. This time, his appointment as Number 2 was on expected lines. A six-time MLA, Patel won from Mehsana in the just-concluded assembly elections, staving off a tough fight from Congress candidate Jivabhai Patel, and 32 others. For the record, Mehsana had 34 candidates in the fray, the highest among all 182 seats.The 61-year-old, who was first elected to Kadi Municipality in the late 70s, was elected to the legislative assembly in 1990, 1995, 1998, 2007 and in 2012. He had lost narrowly from Kadi seat in Mehsana district in 2002 elections, which were held a few months after the post-Godhra riots.”I started from the municipality, and have reached the position of deputy CM. Crores of Gujaratis love and respect me. My party has given me many important responsibilities, and I am happy with what I have,” Patel had told DNA before the elections when asked about his aspirations for the CM’s post.Patel had first served as a minister in 1995, when BJP came to power in the state for the first time.
Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In north Gujarat, Mehsana is the seat which is believed to be the Patel fort, and has seen the impact of the quota agitation in the past few days. Amid this, Gujarat’s deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel filed his nomination as the BJP candidate from this seat on Monday, claiming that he will win with a margin of more than 50,000 votes. It is a tough fight not just because the large chunk of voters, and the Patel community is up in arms against the ruling BJP but the Congress candidate, Jivabhai Patel, is also believed to be very popular. MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister of State PP Chaudhary accompanied Patel.Patel, exhibiting his confidence, held a public rally and a road show in Mehsana. Around 15,000 to 20,000 people joined him in this power performance and expressed their trust with the ruling party and BJP candidate Nitin Patel. A specially authored song played in every corner of Mehsana with the lyrics, “Aapnu rudu Mehsana, Aapna Nitinbhai” (Our beautiful Mehsana, beloved Nitin Bhai).However, Patel does not belong to Mehsana and comes from Kadi that is 30km from this place. Addressing the rally, Patel said, “People of Mehsana have loved me a lot. Our PM Narendra Modi has specially paid attention to Mehsana. Let us all elect the party which never appeased any class, community or creed.”MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “Nitinbhai is like crown of Mehsana and he has served well. I can see the development.”