Chief Ministers of Gujarat
Chief Minister Community Party Year
Jivraj Mehta Brahman Congress May, 1960
Balwantrai Mehta Brahman Congress September, 1963
Hitendra Desai Brahman Congress September,1969
Ghanshyam Ojha Brahman Congress March, 1972
Chimanbhai Patel Patel Congress July, 1973
BJ Patel Patel Congress July, 1973
Madhav Singh Solanki Kshatriya Congress June, 1980
Amarsinh Chaudhary Adivasi Congress July, 1985
Madhavsinh Solanki Kshatriya Congress December, 1989
Chimanbhai Patel Patel BJP March, 1990
Keshubhai Patel Patel BJP March, 1995
Suresh Mehta Brahman BJP October, 1995
Shankarsinh Vaghela Kshatriya BJP October, 1996
Dilip Parikh Baniya BJP November, 1997
Keshubhai Patel Patel BJP March, 1998
Narendra Modi OBC BJP October 2001-Present

There are several factors which are influencing poll prospects in the state but Modi’s candidacy for the top job. Of these, one question which is making rounds in the state’s political arena is that if Modi makes his way to the Centre, who will be in command of the government in the state?

The powerful Patel and Kshatriya lobbies have already become active in order to fill the space which will be left vacant by Modi. And its impact is sure to be felt in the constituencies of Central Gujarat’s Saurashtra region.

Though the BJP has not made any official announcement on who would be the Chief Minister after Modi, several names have surfaced. Some of the prominent names among them are Finance Minister Nitin Patel, Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel and Power Minister Saurabh Patel.

PM Patel, Head of Department (Political Science) at Sayajirao University of Vadodara, says that it’s not a mere coincidence that those three names, which are considered to be the successors of Modi, belong to Patel community. From Anand to Saurashtra, this factor is going to have its impact in some of the crucial seats.

The BJP is, however, gaining from the possibility of a person from Patel community becoming Chief Minister and it’s being said that the saffron party is playing the Patel card for electoral gains. The party is, however, guarding against coming out openly in this matter so that it does not have any impact on the voters of other communities.

Modi’s powerful presence has, however, helped the BJP find a place among the Other Backward Classes (OBC) and before taking any decision; this factor will have to be kept in the mind as well.

The way a Patel is being seen as a probable Chief Minister in Saurashtra region, the picture is completely different in the Central and Northern regions.

On several seats like Anand, Kheda, Chhota Udaipur, Panchmahal, Patan and Banaskantha, there is a dominance of Kshatriya voters. A feeling is also making rounds among the people that a person from their community should represent them in the state legislature.

Several Kshatriya leaders like Liladhar Vaghela, Prabhatisingh Chauhan, Debusingh Chauhan and Dilip Singh Rathod’s stature touched a new high recently. Gujarat saw a Kshatriya leader leading the state for the last time in 1996 in the form of Shankarsinh Vaghela.

It’s being said that in the last general elections, the Kshatriya voters played a key role in making the Congress register victory on several seats like Anand, Kheda, Patan and Banaskantha. Local BJP leader Chirag Dave claims that the Kshatriya voters of Anand will incline towards Modi this time.

Another BJP leader said that the Adivasis and OBCs have played a quite vital role behind electing Modi as the Chief Minister of Gujarat thrice.

JPN/Bureau

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