If Amit Shah is known as the Chanakya of the Bharatiya Janata Party, then Congress strategy was set rolling by the extremely trusted Ahmed Patel, who worked closely with a cross-section of Congress stalwarts from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi. He has been involved with every aspect of Congress for five decades. He was considered a mentor to Congress patron Sonia Gandhi.
As Congress faces a leadership crisis, the death of Patel who hailed from Bharuch is seen by many as a big setback for the Grand Old Party. Patel started life early in the times when Congress lost badly in the 1977 general election. These were times when Congress faced a very strong anti-Indira wave. At this time Ahmed Patel managed to reach Parliament by winning the election. Back in 2017 as Patel geared up to take on Amit Shah for Rajya Sabha Rajya polls, Ahmed Patel won. Having suffered hugely due to Corona, he has passed away at 71.
Patel born on 21 August 1949 in Gujarat won the Lok Sabha elections thrice. Apart from this he has been Rajya Sabha MP 5 times. In 1977, at 28, he won the Lok Sabha elections from Bharuch for the first time and reached Parliament.
While the Congress has seen a dipping of electoral fortunes since 2014, Ahmed Patel stood firm and played a key role in the formation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra and managed to bring the Shiv Sena – Congress together.
When Narasimha Rao and Sonia Gandhi became distant in the nineties, Ahmed Patel acted as a bridge. Sonia Gandhi hugely trusted Patel for his Chanakya Neeti.
During his distinguished service in the party, he touched many a politician like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Defense Minister AK Anthony, Ambika Soni. He was also the treasurer of the party.
As Congress fights to revive itself, the search for someone trustworthy continues.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision making body of the Grand old party has been in a huddle to find the successor of Ahmed Patel. Patel was paid tributes by the CWC.
“In Shri Ahmed Patel, I’ve lost a colleague, whose entire life was dedicated to Congress. I’ve lost an irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague & a friend. His faithfulness and dedication, his commitment to his duty, his always being there to help, his generosity were rare qualities that distinguished him from others. Feel deeply for his bereaved family to whom I offer my sincere feelings of empathy & support”, Congress President, Sonia Gandhi said.
There is speculation that after his departure, Ashok Gehlot will play a larger role to show the party, the road forward. Gehlot is one on whom the Gandhi family relies heavily and has experience in manipulations as well as a strategy.