Former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel breathed his last at a hospital in Ahmedabad on Thursday, October 29. He served as the chief minister of the state in 1995 and from 1998 to 2001. Patel's political journey has been full of twists and turns. Once considered to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mentor, Patel turned his bête noire years later. Prime Minister Narendra Modi considered Keshubhai Patel his political guru. However, political relations between the two leaders soured later. Modi became the chief minister of Gujarat after Keshubhai resigned from the post after 2001 earthquake in Gujarat. Later, in 2012, Keshubhai floated his own party under the banner Gujarat Parivartan Party. His party, however, suffered a huge defeat in the 2012 assembly elections. Keshubhai later merged his party with the BJP.
A look at Keshubhai Patel's political journey
Born on July 24, 1928, in Visavadar in Junagadh, Patel joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1945 as a pracharak. His political career kickstarted when he got associated with the Jan Sangh back in the 1960s. The Jan Sangh-Congress coalition came to power in Gujarat in 1975. He was among those imprisoned during the emergency.
In 1977, post the emergency, Patel was elected to the Lok Sabha from Rajkot constituency. Later, he resigned and joined Babubhai Patel's Janata Morcha government as an agriulture minister from 1978 to 1980.
Patel won assembly elections from Kalavad, Gondal and Visavadar between 1978 and 1995. After the Jan Sangh was dissolved in 1980, he became a senior organised of the newl-formed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Under Chimanbhai Patel, he served as the deputy chief minister of Gujarat from March 4, 1990 to October 25 1990. Patel was credited for organising the election campaign against Congress and leading BJP to a victory in 1995 assembly election.
On March 14, 1995, Patel became the chief minister of Gujarat. However, his resignation came seven months later after his colleague Shankersinh Vaghela revolted against him. In October 1996, Vaghela became the chief minister with the suppor of the Congress. The assembly stood dissolved in 1998 as Congress withdrew its support for Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP) formed by Vaghela. In 1998 assembly elections, BJP again returned to power led by Patel and he became the chief minister.
On October 2, 2001, Patel resigned as the chief minister due to his ill health. Moreover, allegations of corruption and poor administration in addition to poor electoral performance in the by-elections, the BJP's national leadership had to seek a new candidate for the office of chief minister.
Patel was succeeded by Narendra Modi. He did fight the 2002 Gujarat assembly election. He was elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha in 2002.
When the 2007 Gujarat assembly elections came, he urged his community to "vote for change" and "blessed" the Congress party. However, BJP won the election with clear majority.
On August 4, 2012, Patel resigned from the BJP and launched his own party to contest in 2012 Gujarat legislative assembly election. He won from Visavadar constituency but his party won just two seats.
In January 2014, he resigned as the GPP President and later as a member of Gujarat legislative assembly due to ill health. GPP then merged with BJP in February, 2014.