Zee Media Bureau
Ahmedabad: Narendra Modi’s anointment as the chief of BJP’s 2014 election campaign committee has led to questions as to who will succeed the Chief Minister in Gujarat once he is named the party’s prime ministerial candidate.
Among the names doing the rounds are Anandiben Patel, Nitin Patel, Saurabh Patel and Ranchoddas Faldu.
Anandiben Patel, 72, popularly addressed as ‘ben’ (sister), holds key portfolios like urban development and urban housing, revenue, and roads and buildings. According to observers, she is believed to be the closest of Modi`s aides.
Also being in charge of Ahmedabad city and district, Anandiben is considered to be the leading candidate to take over from Modi if he shifts to the national capital. One this that could hold her back is her health problems.
Also leading the race is state Finance and Health Minister Nitin Patel. He is already number two in the Cabinet and could see his elevation when Modi takes up a bigger role.
Nitin Patel, 58, had recently led the government affairs and held a Cabinet meeting when Modi was briefly unwell. It was only the first time in Modi’s tenure as chief minister spread over 12 years that a minister presided over a Cabinet meeting. Nitin was once in Keshubhai Patel’s camp before aligning with Modi.
A third contender to the Gujarat CM’s post is Energy Minister Saurabh Patel, who has good relations with industrialists and business leaders. 55-year-old Saurabh Patel is an MBA from the US and the son-in-law of Ramnikbhai Ambani, the elder brother of the late Dhirubhai Ambani.
He was made Cabinet minister after last year’s Assembly Elections, and is known to have a good understanding of governance issues.
The last - but not the least - contender is BJP president Ranchoddas Faldu, who is considered a dark horse in the race to take over Gujarat from Narendra Modi.