Anandiben Patel was today elected leader of Gujarat BJP Legislature Party and would be the state's first woman Chief Minister as curtains came down on an eventful 12-year tenure of Narendra Modi, marked as much by commendation as by controversy and criticism.
73-year-old Patel, state's Revenue Minister and a close aide of Modi, was elected unanimously and will take oath as Chief Minister tomorrow. Her name was proposed by Agriculture Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and seconded among others by BJP general secretary Amit Shah, credited for the phenomenal success of the party in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. BJP's Central observer Thawar Chand Gehlot announced the election of Patel, who will become state's 15th Chief Minister, in the presence of Modi.
Tears rolled down Patel's eyes as she began her acceptance speech during which she thanked Modi, behind whom she stood solidly even when he was banished out to Delhi following internal strife in the BJP, and the party for giving her the important responsibility. "I am thankful to the top BJP leaders and our PM Narendra Modi for selecting a farmer's daugther like me for such responsibilty. I studied while working in a farm and then became a teacher. When I joined BJP, I was a blank slate" said Patel in a choked voice.
"To be in politics is not easy for women. But, BJP leaders like Atalji and Advanji guided me all the way. Narendrabhai always motivated me. BJP always made sure that women don't have to face problems" said Patel, who compared Modi with Lord Krishna. Calling Modi a "leader of the 21st century" who converted problems into opportunities, she said, "people will remember you (Modi) for many years to come. This is the first time when any CM is becoming PM. Just like lord Krishna left the banks of river Yamuna and came here, today a 'Lok-Nayak' is leaving Sabarmati and going to the banks of Yamuna."