Keshubhai Patel
10th Chief Minister of Gujarat
In office
4 March 1998 – 6 October 2001
Preceded byDilip Parikh
Succeeded byNarendra Modi
In office
14 March 1995 – 21 October 1995
Preceded byChhabildas Mehta
Succeeded bySuresh Mehta
3rd Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat
In office
4 March 1990 – 25 October 1990
Chief MinisterChimanbhai Patel
Preceded byKantilal Ghia
Succeeded byNarhari Amin
Member of parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded byGhanshyambhai Oza
Succeeded byRamjibhai Mavani
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
10 April 2002 – 9 April 2008
Irrigation Minister in Government of Gujarat
In office
Personal details
Born(1928-07-24)24 July 1928
Visavadar, Junagadh State, British India
Died29 October 2020(2020-10-29) (aged 92)
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Political partyBharatiya Jana Sangh (1951-1980)
Bharatiya Janata Party (1980–2012, 2014-2020)
Gujarat Parivartan Party (2012 – 2014)
SpouseLeela Patel
ChildrenFive sons, one daughter
AwardsPadma Bhushan (2021) (posthumously)

Keshubhai Patel (24 July 1928 – 29 October 2020) was an Indian politician who was the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 1995 and from 1998 to 2001. He was a six-time member of Gujarat Legislative Assembly.[1] He was a member of RSS since 1940s, of Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1960s, Janata Party in 1970s, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from 1980. He subsequently left the BJP in 2012 and formed the Gujarat Parivartan Party. He was elected from Visavadar in the 2012 state assembly election but later resigned in 2014 due to ill health and merged his party with BJP. He was awarded India's third highest civilian award the Padma Bhushan posthumously in 2021.[2][3]

Early life

Keshubhai Patel was born on 24 July 1928 as Keshubhai Desai in a Leuva Patidar family in Visavadar town in the present day Junagadh district, Gujarat. His family is said to have migrated from Vaso village in Nadiad of Kheda district, a village of Patidars, where revenue clerks were known as 'Desai'. The family migrated to Saurashtra and ran a flour mill in Rajkot. Jana Sangh veterans like former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela, who knew Keshubhai for 55 years, says he ran this mill in Hathikhana area of Rajkot for a living, and described him as a "self-made" man who built the party from scratch. Patel told The Indian Express in 2015 that "Many Patels from Amreli and Junagadh are Desais––clerks who collected taxes from land owners and were found in the tiny state of Vaso near Nadiad and in Saurashtra. Throughout school, I was Keshubhai Desai, till our Junagadh leader Suryakant Acharya [a former BJP MP] began to refer to me as 'Keshubhai Patel' in public, and the name stuck". In Rajkot, he went to Alfred High School, which is also Mahatma Gandhi's alma mater.[4] He joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1945 as a pracharak. He was imprisoned during the Emergency.[5]

Political career

Patel began his journey in electoral politics by contesting in the Rajkot municipality and later Rajkot Municipal Corporation. He started his political career as a worker for the Jan Sangh, of which was he was a founder member, in the 1960s. He lost the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha election in 1972 from Wankaner (Vidhan Sabha constituency) to the Congress . In 1975, he won from the Rajkot Vidhan Sabha Constituency and became minister for irrigation from 1978 to 1980 in the BJS-backed government of the Indian National Congress (Organisation), popularly called the Sanstha Congress, led by Chief Minister Babubhai Jashbhai Patel. During the Emergency, Patel was among the 3,500 people from Gujarat to be jailed under the draconian Maintenance of Internal Security Act.[6] He was involved in relief work following the 1979 Machchhu dam failure which devastated Morbi.[7][8]

Patel won assembly elections for the constituencies of Rajkot (1975), Gondal (1980), Kalavad (1985), Tankara (1990), and Visavadar (Vidhan Sabha constituency) (1995, 1998, 2012) between 1975 and 2012.[5] In 1980, when Jan Sangh was dissolved, he became a senior organiser of the newly formed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Patel was Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat from 4 March 1990 to 25 October 1990 under Chimanbhai Patel.[9] He organized the 1995 assembly election campaign for the BJP against Congress (I), which the party won.[10] Patel became the chief minister of Gujarat on 14 March 1995 but resigned seven months later as his colleague Shankersinh Vaghela revolted against him. Suresh Mehta succeeded him as a consensus chief minister. BJP was split as the Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP) was formed by Vaghela who became the chief minister in October 1996 with support of the Congress (I). The assembly was dissolved in 1998 when Congress (I) withdrew its support for the RJP. The BJP, led by Patel, returned to power in the 1998 assembly elections and he became the chief minister again on 4 March 1998.[5][11]

Patel resigned as the chief minister on 2 October 2001 due to poor health. Allegations of abuse of power, corruption and poor administration, as well as a loss of BJP seats in by-elections and mismanagement of relief works in the aftermath of the 2001 Bhuj earthquake, prompted the BJP's national leadership to seek a new candidate for the office of chief minister. He was succeeded by Narendra Modi.[12] Patel did not contest the 2002 Gujarat assembly election but was elected to the Rajya Sabha unopposed in 2002.[13]

In the 2007 Gujarat assembly elections, he urged his community to vote for change. He "blessed" the Indian National Congress (formerly Congress (I)) and did not even cast his vote. The BJP again won the election with a clear majority and formed a government led by Modi.[13] Patel did not renew his BJP membership,[14] resigned from the BJP on 4 August 2012 and launched the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) to contest the 2012 Gujarat legislative assembly election.[15] He won a seat in the Visavadar constituency against the BJP candidate Kanubhai Bhalala, although his party GPP won just one other seat.[16] Patel resigned from the post of president of GPP in January 2014 and later resigned as a member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly due to ill health on 13 February 2014.[17] Later, GPP merged with BJP on 24 February 2014.[18]

Personal life and death

Patel married Leela Patel and had five sons and a daughter.[7] His son, Bharat Patel, is a member of BJP.[7][16] Leela Patel died in their home in Gandhinagar after an electrical fire broke out in the exercise room on 21 September 2006.[19] On 9 September 2017, Patel's 60-year-old son, Pravin Patel, living in the US, died of cardiac arrest.[20]

Keshubhai Patel tested positive for COVID-19 in September 2020 but apparently recovered after the initial infection. However, he complained of difficulty breathing on the morning of 29 October 2020. He was taken to a hospital, where he died the same day due to post-covid complications.[21][22]


  1. ^ "Keshubhai Patel, former Gujarat CM, passes away". The Hindu. 29 October 2020. Archived from the original on 29 October 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Padma Awards 2021 announced". Ministry of Home Affairs. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Shinzo Abe, Tarun Gogoi, Ram Vilas Paswan among Padma Award winners: Complete list". The Times of India. 25 January 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Explained: The Life Of Keshubhai Patel, RSS karyakarta, Bhartiya Jan Sangh founder, Gujarat CM". The Indian Express. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Bapa Keshubhai Patel remains man of the masses". DNA. 5 August 2012. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Explained: The life of Keshubhai Patel, RSS karyakarta, Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder, Gujarat CM". The Indian Express. 29 October 2020. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Dave, Hiral (9 August 2012). "6 decades on, Keshubhai back to familiar building role". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  8. ^ Bhatia, Ramaninder K. (9 August 2012). "Did Keshubhai raise alarm on Machchu dam disaster?". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 22 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Chimanbhai Patel takes charge as Gujarat CM with BJP support". Archived from the original on 4 July 2019. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  10. ^ Mandalia, Bhavi (29 October 2020). "Former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel dies at age 92". Pledge Times. Archived from the original on 31 October 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  11. ^ "ELECTIONS '98: The Assembly round". Frontline. 21 March 1998. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014.
  12. ^ Aditi Phadnis (2009). Business Standard Political Profiles of Cabals and Kings. Business Standard Books. pp. 116–21. ISBN 978-81-905735-4-2. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
    - Bunsha, Dionne (13 October 2001). "A new oarsman". Frontline. India. Archived from the original on 23 January 2002. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
    - Venkatesan, V. (13 October 2001). "A pracharak as Chief Minister". Frontline. New Delhi. Archived from the original on 5 April 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Jana Krishamurthy, Keshubhai Patel, Deora elected to RS". Rediff. New Delhi. 18 March 2002. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  14. ^ "Keshubhai splits BJP, to launch anti-Modi front". Hindustan Times. 29 June 2012. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Modi-baiter Keshubhai Patel quits BJP". The Indian Express. 4 August 2012. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  16. ^ a b "Keshubhai's son Bharat joins BJP". The Indian Express. 23 December 2013. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  17. ^ "Keshubhai resigns as MLA". The Times of India. 14 February 2014. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  18. ^ "Gujarat Parivartan Party merges with BJP". Niticentral. 25 February 2014. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014.
    - "Keshubhai Patel's Gujarat Parivartan Party merges with BJP". Jagran. 25 February 2014. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  19. ^ "Keshubhai's wife charred in gym fire". The Times of India. Gandhinagar. Times News Network. 22 September 2006. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  20. ^ "PM Modi Visits Keshubhai Patel's Home To Condole His Son's Death". NDTV. 14 September 2017. Archived from the original on 24 May 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel passes away". India TV. 29 October 2020. Archived from the original on 29 October 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Former Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel (Kesu Bapa) dies of heart attack - The Thinkera". 29 October 2020. Archived from the original on 9 May 2021. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
Lok Sabha Preceded byGhanshyam Oza Member of Parliamentfor Rajkot 1977 – 1980 Succeeded byRamaben Patel Political offices Preceded byChhabildas Mehta Chief Minister of Gujarat 14 March 1995 – 21 October 1995 Succeeded bySureshchandra R. Mehta Preceded byDilipbhai Ramanbhai Parikh Chief Minister of Gujarat 4 March 1998 – 6 October 2001 Succeeded byNarendra Modi