Early Life of Anandiben Patel
Anandiben Patel was born in Kharod village of Vijapur taluka in the Mehsana district of Gujarat on 21st November 1941. Her father, Jethabhai, worked as a farmer. Till 4th grade she did her schooling in a Girls' school and later joined Boys' school as the latter was the only school in the district providing complete education. She was the only girl student there among 700 boys. In 8th grade she moved to Nutan Sarv Vidyalaya. Her outstanding achievement in athletics earned her Veerbala Award in Mehsana. In 1960 she joined Bhilvai College being the only girl in the college in first year Science.
After completing her Bachelor of Science in Visnagar she started working in Mahila Vikas Gruh for the betterment of women. There she imparted training in vocational courses to more than 50 widows. In 1965 she moved to Ahmedabad along with her husband Mafatbhai Patel where she joined Master of Science. Later she joined Bachelor of Education to pursue a career in teaching profession. In her M. Ed she bagged gold medal. In 1970 she joined Mohniba School as a school teacher where she taught subjects like mathematics and science to higher secondary students. Later on she took charge as the principal of the school and remained there for 30 years declining all other offers.
Political Career of Anandiben Patel
Political journey of Anandiben Patel began at an early age when during a school picnic she saved two girls single handedly who accidentally fell into the Narmada River. For her courageous endeavour she was honoured with President's Bravery Award. The act impressed the BJP top cadre who suggested her to join the party. She initially declined the offer. However later while volunteering for drought relief program she realised that politics is a means of serving people and thus joined the party as the Gujarat Pradesh Mahila Morcha President in 1987. Her work during a spread of bird flu in Viramgam where she helped the local people in addition to enforcing the government officials for taking strong action was her first noteworthy venture. She joined in Ekta Yatra (journey for unity) in 1992 as the only woman leader from Gujarat under the leadership of BJP along with BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi.
Anandiben Patel, in 1994, was elected to Rajyasabha from Gujarat. Being an MP she represented India in the Fourth World Women's Conference at Beijing (China) in 1994-95. In 1998 she resigned from Rajyasabha and contested her first assembly election from Mandal assembly seat in Ahmedabad district of Gujarat. She became the State Minister in Government of Gujarat and later the fifth ever Woman Cabinet Minister of Gujarat. The Education portfolio was assigned to her. She introduced Shala Praveshosav for increasing enrolment in schools which resulted in 100 percent increase. She also launched a campaign for appointing 26,000 teachers in the vacant positions. Her works for reducing the corruption in transfer of teachers has also been appreciable.
Anandiben Patel contested her second and third assembly elections from Patan Constituency under the leadership of Narendra Modi in 2002 and 2007 and won both the times. In her second term she served as a Cabinet Minister for Education whereas in her third term she gained two more portfolios Roads and Building and Revenue. Her persistent efforts for the development of the region encompassed projects like creating 174 check dams, connecting Patan with Narmada canal for the welfare of farmers, establishment of a new medical and engineering college, building one of the largest water filtration plant to provide pure drinking water to the citizens of Patan, creating underground drainage system and road networks.
For 2012 elections, Anandiben Patel moved to Ghatlodiya constituency of Ahmedabad and won marking her maximum lead in the state. Anandiben Patel took oath as 15th Chief Minister of Gujarat on 22nd May 2014, succeeding Narendra Modi, after the latter was elected as the Prime Minister of India.
Achievements of Anandiben Patel
Anandiben Patel has been awarded a number of accolades and honours. She has received the Governor's Award for Best Teacher in Gujarat (1988), President's Award for the Best Teacher (1989), Sardar Patel Award by Patel Jagruti Mandal, Mumbai (1999), Patidar Shiromani Award by the Patel community (2005), Special honour bestowed by Dharati Vikas Mandal for Women's Upliftment Campaign., Veerbala award for ranking first in Mahesana District school sports event, Vidya Gaurav Award by Shri Tapodhan Brahman Vikas mandal (2000), Charumati Yoddha Award (Jyotisangh) and Ambubhai Purani Vyayam Vidyalay Award (Rajpipala).
Personal Life of Anandiben Patel
Anandiben Patel is married to Mafatbhai Patel and has two children Sanjay Patel and Anar Patel. She leads a frugal lifestyle and is recognized for her incredible administrative efficiency. She makes extensive tours across the state for meeting local officials and mentoring them over the execution of various tasks. She loves to interact with children.