Gujarat BJP chief CR Paatil, known for his record LS victory margins, sworn in as Union minister

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Ahmedabad, Jun 9 (PTI) Gujarat BJP president Chandrakant Raghunath Paatil, who steered the party to a record win in the state Assembly polls in 2022 and has earned plaudits for his stellar victory margins in Lok Sabha polls, was inducted into the Narendra Modi government on Sunday.

Paatil, who won his fourth term as MP from Navsari in south Gujarat, won the 2019 polls with a record margin of 6.89 lakh votes, only to better it in 2024 with a victory by 7.73 lakh votes. In the 2014 polls, his victory margin was a record in Gujarat and the third highest in the country.

Born in Pimpry Akaraut village in Jalgaon district of neighbouring Maharashtra, the 69-year-old is the only non-Gujarati to head the party in the state. He was a police constable for 14 years before quitting the job in 1984 after making an attempt to start a union in the force. He launched the Gujarati daily 'Navgujarat Times' in 1991 before being given party responsibilities, which heralded a stellar political career.

He joined the BJP in 1989 and was made Surat city treasurer and then vice president of the unit there. He came in close contact with Narendra Modi in 1995 when the latter was state general secretary of the BJP. Paatil was later appointed as chairman of the state PSU Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Limited in 1998.

A Lok Sabha MP from Navsari since 2009, Paatil was made state BJP chief in July 2020 replacing Jitu Vaghani. In his role as MP, Paatil has served as member of various standing committees, including those connected to housing and urban affairs, government assurances, urban development, defence and science and technology and environment and forests.

Known for his easy connect with the public and the ability to reach out to them in their hours of need, Paatil, however, courted controversy when he announced free distribution of Remdesevir injections to the needy during the COVID-19 pandemic in hometown Surat at the time when the vital medicine was in short supply.

Despite the BJP proudly claiming that it would make a hattrick of clean sweeps in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls in Gujarat, the party won 25 out of 26 seats in the state, losing Banaskantha to the Congress. PTI KA PD BNM