Published: 16th December 2020
Things have been better than we'd imagined: Meet Dr Chhagan Bhai Nanjibhai Patel, ABVP's new National President
In the ABVP internal elections, the principal of Sarvajanik Pharmacy College, Mahasena, Gujarat was elected unanimously as the National President
"I'm only 55," Dr Chhagan Bhai Nanjibhai Patel laughs, excitement brimming in his voice. The ABVP internal elections were just over and the Principal of Sarvajanik Pharmacy College, Mahasena, Gujarat was elected unanimously as the National President. He will assume charge at the ABVP National Conference in Nagpur on December 25 and 26.
Vidyarthi translates literally to 'student' and Patel is no student. So unsurprisingly, as soon as the election results were out, the rival student organisations were quick to criticise him heading the Parishad. This criticism wasn't alien to his predecessor Dr S Subbiah, who a medical college professor in Chennai, either. Unfazed, he says, "Since its formation, ABVP had a mixture of both students and teachers. Our leadership always comprised of both. While the students held the secretarial posts, teachers held the presidential positions," he says.
The founder and member of the Executive Board of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Gujarat Technical University, he has published various research papers on topics related to pharmacy. He's been a member of the ABVP since 1996, he has also held the positions of the parishad's City Vice President, City President, Gujarat State Vice President and State President. He was its National Vice President from 2016 to 2019.
Having spent almost all of his career as an academician, he says that today's students lack the right vision and goals. "But our aim is to guide them in the right way so that they develop the proper goals to lead our country forward," he says. ABVP is considered to be one of the largest student organisations in the world. However, its member strength is quite weak in states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. Acknowledging it, Patel says that their aim is to increase the number of members in these states in his tenure. "We had conducted demonstrations in Kerala in the last year and the turnout was better than what we had imagined. We have a few strategies in place to attract more students. We will also plan on sending students from other states to work on this," he says.