Bhupendra Patel, the new face of Gujarat, has formed the government for a new set of governance, with young and energetic ministers. Mr Patel has a Himalayan task over his head and he needs to prove himself as a messiah of the Patel community. People of Gujarat are acquainted with the Modi-style of politics and good governance. People of Gujarat are very much concerned about the “pride of Gujarat”. So, they are more concerned about the face, who can save and preserve Gujarati asmita. After Keshubhai Patel, Narendra Modi could preserve and permeate the Gujarati asmita inside and outside the state. Like a lion of Gir, Modi could roar and rule the nation and win millions of hearts in India and abroad. The charismatic leadership of Modi is still popular amongst the people of Gujarat. They feel there is a leader from Gujarat, after Sardar Patel, who has won the hearts of millions till now. So, even if Modi is not at the helm of affairs in Gujarat politics, people know that he will take care of the development of the state, and anyone who will be the Chief Minister has got the blessings of Modi only. When Modi will come into the political battle for his home state, people will support him, ignoring the petty caste politics. However, this time the party has taken a hard decision and put the party in order, and the caste politics is well taken care of in the government formation. Bhupendra Patel, a very ground-to-earth, simple-hearted Partidar leader, is, no doubt, a good choice, who is far above any political controversy, groupism and has a clean image in public life. I can remember when I visited him when he was chairman of Ahmedabad Municipality. Any one can call him, share his/her issues and he has a soft-spoken approach towards the general public.
Now, after swearing in as Chief Minister, Bhupendra Bhai has to show his administrative capabilities for good governance in the prevailing political situations. All the senior ministers, who had the experience of governance, have been dropped due to their unpopular mindset. So, the party brought in new young faces from all castes, and the message is loud and clear: There is no place for “non-performers” in the changing strategy of the BJP. Bhupendra Patel has to run the show with a balanced strategy of good governance and accommodating all in the changing sweet-and-sour situations. There is a discussion amongst the political pundits that he would be under the remote control of senior bureaucrats and senior leaders. But in any situation, his political visions must be reflected in the well-oiled machinery of administration for good governance. Otherwise, many dissatisfied leaders are watching him silently, to give a bad name to him, like the previous CM faced. Of course, Bhupendra Bhai has got the blessings of different spiritual, social and political groups that dominate Gujarati Samaj, but all of his decisions will remain under the surveillance of the Central BJP. He has got a very small time period to prove his efficiency as a leader, and at the same time, he has to take decisions keeping an eye on the forthcoming assembly election. One hopes he will take measured steps to fulfil the public expectations for good governance. For this, he has to take essential measures to manage the anti-establishment planks against the government. On one hand, he has the strong support of Modi, and on the other hand, he will have the strong backing of the Patidar community he belonged to. It’s like a litmus test for the purified Patel.
By Deepak Kumar Rath