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Anandiben: The Teacher Who Became Gujarat's First Woman CM

Press Trust of India

Last Updated: August 03, 2016, 19:38 IST

File photo of Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel. (Twitter)

File photo of Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel. (Twitter)

A teacher-turned-politician and recipient of the President's bravery award, 74-year-old Patel, who resigned on Wednesday as the Gujarat chief minister, also proved herself a socially concerned administrator capable of taking firm decisions by her interventions for improving school education and sanitation programmes.

Ahmedabad: Gujarat's first woman chief minister Anandiben Patel faced during her brief tenure several challenges, including the Patel quota stir and the recent flogging of Dalits in Una, which are perceived to have dented the BJP's support base ahead next year's state assembly polls.

A teacher-turned-politician and recipient of the President's bravery award, 74-year-old Patel, who resigned on Wednesday as the Gujarat chief minister, also proved herself a socially concerned administrator capable of taking firm decisions by her interventions for improving school education and sanitation programmes.

Patel, who succeeded Narendra Modi as Chief Minister in May 2014, is a disciplinarian, hard taskmaster and one who speaks her mind out. A staunch Modi loyalist, she emerged as the natural heir when the former became the prime minister after successfully running the state for nearly a decade.

Under Modi, she had headed the group of ministers tasked with running the state's day-to-day affairs during his hectic Lok Sabha campaign.

Patel, who will turn 75 in November this year, was born on 22 November 1941 in Kharod village of Vijapur taluka of Mehsana district in a farmer's family.

During her tenure as CM, she laid special emphasis on social welfare programmes like malnutrition of children, women's health and building toilets to achieve the targets under Modi's flagship Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, earning the reputation of a kind hearted person.

The BJP under her leadership also suffered loss in the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC) election in April this year, where it won 16 of the 32 seats in a tie with Congress.

Recently, she broke down after listening to a poem penned by a school girl on female foeticide during a function. However, she also demonstrated that she is not a leader to bow down easily when it comes to taking decisions. On many occasions, she poured her heart out and many a time took officials to task for their failure to serve the people.

Many within and outside her party consider her to be very adamant, a trait she reflected during the Patel quota stir.

Instead of giving in to the demands of the agitators or offering promises, she remained firm and refused to grant the community the OBC status for reservation.

Instead of giving "politically correct" answers, she bluntly told the agitators in the beginning that reservation under OBC category for Patels is not possible. A post graduate in science and education, she opted for a career in teaching and moved here from Mehsana.

first published:August 03, 2016, 19:38 IST
last updated:August 03, 2016, 19:38 IST