AHMEDABAD (TIP): Anandiben Patel took over as Gujarat’s Chief Minister on May 22 afternoon. She was administered oath by the state’s Governor Kamla Beniwal. On stage, was her predecessor Narendra Modi, who will be the country’s next prime minister. The entire BJP top line of leaders like party president Rajnath Singh, LK Advani, MM Joshi and Arun Jaitley were also present as the 72-year-old Anandiben took oath at a packed Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. She is Gujarat’s first woman Chief Minister.

CONTINED FROM PAGE 1 After Modi resigned as the Chief Minister, a position he had held for 13 years, his party’s legislators elected Patel to be their leader. Modi’s close aide Amit Shah, who does not share the warmest vibes with Ms Patel, was among those who endorsed her name for the chief minister’s post. In Gujarat, Shah and Patel have often been described as Modi’s “left and right arms.” Like Shah, Anandiben Patel is said to enjoy Modi’s complete trust.

During his long election campaign, while Amit Shah helped Mr Modi script his massive victory, Ms Patel, the revenue minister, held fort in Gujarat as the head of a group of ministers set up to run the state government. She is known to be a very able administrator and has a tough, nononsense image. Dabbing discreetly at her eyes yesterday, as she was elected, an emotional Patel said, “Today when our beloved leaders are going to Delhi, there are tears in one eye and happiness in the other.

Happiness because they are going to Delhi to wipe the tears of millions of Indians. I wish Narendra Modi all the best.” Handing over, Modi assured Patel that “no files in the chief minister’s office are pending”, and said, “she is a very hardworking minister and has been a performer and am sure Gujarat will continue to move forward on path of growth.”

Patel has stood by Modi for many years even before he took over as Gujarat chief minister, including when in the mid 1990s, he was banished from state politics after a confrontation with other state leaders. The senior BJP leader was elected to the state assembly in 2012 from Ghatlodiya in Ahmedabad by a margin of 1.10 lakh votes. Her biggest limitation, her colleagues say, is her lack of connect with the party’s grassroots level workers and her inaccessibility.