Anandiben Patel is born on 22 November 1941, in Kharod village of Vijapur taluka of Mehsana district, Gujarat, where her father, Jethabhai, was a teacher.
School : She moved to N.M. High School for her high school studies which had only three girl students. As a student she was an athlete and remained a district level champion for three consecutive years. She joined college for studying B.Sc in 1960. She has excelled throughout as a student in her studies. She was awarded "Veer Bala" award in Mehsana for her outstanding achievement in athletics.
Patel joined M. G. Panchal Science College at Pilvai in 1960. She completed a bachelor's degree in science in Visnagar. She married Mafatlal in 1962.
She joined Mahila Vikas Gruh for the upliftment of women as her first job, where she taught vocational courses to more than 50 widows.
Patel moved to Ahmedabad in 1965 with her husband Mafatbhai Patel where she earned a master of science degree. In Ahmedabad, she took on the responsibility of educating all the children of her extended family; at one time, more than 10 extended family members were staying in her home. She enrolled in a bachelor of education program to pursue her interest in teaching. She received a gold medal in her master of education program.
Teacher : Patel worked as the teacher at Mohiniba Kanya Vidyalaya, Ahmedabad in 1967 or 1970, where she taught science and mathematics to higher secondary students. Later, she became the school's principal
Political Carrier : Patel's entry into politics began with an accident during a school picnic in 1987, when she jumped in the Sardar Sarovar reservoir to save two girls who were drowning during a school picnic, for which she received a president's bravery award. Impressed by Patel's heroism, BJP top cadre suggested Anandiben Patel join the party. She joined BJP as the Gujarat Pradesh Mahila Morcha President in 1987.
Patel's first notable work was during a spread of bird flu in the Viramgam district, where she spent weeks helping local citizens and appealing to government officials to take strong action. In 1992, she participated in Ekta Yatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar with BJP veteran leader Murli Manohar Joshi.
Patel was elected to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in 1994. As an MP, she participated in the Fourth World Women's Conference at Beijing (China) in 1994–95, representing India. She also visited Bulgaria with the BJP Leader, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and speaker of the Lok Sabha, P. A. Sangma.
Patel resigned from Rajyasabha in 1998 and contested her first assembly election from Mandal assembly constituency. She won and became the cabinet minister for education under the Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel.
In her first term as Education Minister, Patel started "Lokdarbar" to address issues related to schools and education. It was under her leadership that the state Government first launched "Shala Praveshotsav" to increase enrollment in schools, which is still the flagship program of the Education department. Her efforts resulted in a 100% increase in enrollment.
In her first two years as an Education Minister, Patel initiated a campaign to recruit 26,000 teachers to fill positions that had been vacant for six years. She is also credited for her work to reduce corruption in the transfer of teachers. She established a school for handicapped children.
Patel contested her second and third assembly elections in 2002 and 2007 from Patan assembly constituency and was elected. She continued as a cabinet minister for education in her second term and was assigned to Roads & Building and Revenue in her third term.
A few of the high impact projects that took place during her time are: connecting Patan with the Narmada canal for the welfare of farmers; creating 174 check dams in the region; building one of the largest water filtration plants to provide citizens of Patan with pure drinking water; the construction of a new medical and engineering college in the region; and the creation of more than 700 km worth of road networks and underground drainage systems.
Patel contested and won from Ghatlodiya constituency in the 2012 elections. She won the election with a margin of more than 175,000 votes, the highest in the election. She continued as the cabinet minister of Road and Building, Revenue, Urban development and Urban Housing, Disaster Management and Capital Projects.
On 22 May 2014, Patel took oath as the 15th Chief Minister of Gujarat succeeding Narendra Modi, after the later was elected as Prime Minister of India following the victory of BJP in the Indian general election, 2014. Patel was the first female Chief Minister of Gujarat. She expressed her desire to resign on 1 August 2016 as she was turning 75 years old in November 2016. Other speculated reasons cited for her resignation include handling of Patidar reservation agitation and Dalit protests. She submitted her resignation to the Governor O. P. Kohli on 4 August 2016 which was accepted. She continued to hold the office until her successor Vijay Rupani took over on 7 August 2016.
The Indian Express has listed her in top 100 most influential people of India for the year 2014.
- Felicitated with Governor's Award for best teacher in Gujarat (1988)
- Felicitated with the President's Award for the best teacher (1989)
- Felicitated with 'Sardar Patel' Award by Patel Jagruti Mandal, Mumbai (1999)
- Felicitated with the 'Vidya Gaurav' Award by Shri Tapodhan Brahman Vikas Mandal (2000)
- Felicitated with '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.
- Gallantry Award for rescuing two girls of Mohinaba Girls' school from drowning at Navagam reservoir in Narmada
- Winner of Charumati Yoddha Award (Jyotisangh), Ahmedabad.
- Winner of Ambubhai Purani Vyayam Vidyalay Award (Rajpipala)