Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot remembers Ahmed Patel as a committed unifier, says Congress will miss him
Calling the demise of Ahmed Patel a “personal loss”, Gehlot said, “I have lost my close friend and a trustworthy colleague”
The sudden demise of Congress leader and Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel left thousands in tears.
He was not only a trouble shooter for the grand old party but one of the most powerful persons in the Congress – that too without having held any post in the government. He was a person who was close to everyone in his party and even friends of his political foes.
Remembering him, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is just three years younger than Patel who breathed his last at 71, said that no one can fulfil his absence.
Calling the demise of Ahmed Patel a “personal loss”, Gehlot said, “I have lost my close friend and a trustworthy colleague.”
Underlining Patel’s contribution to the Congress party, Gehlot said that Patel made history by fulfilling many responsibilities.
Gehlot recalled how Patel was called to Delhi and was appointed Rajiv Gandhi’s parliamentary secretary in 1985. He served as the president of Gujarat Congress and treasurer of the grand old party besides serving as political secretary to Sonia Gandhi for a record time.
“In his 40 years of political life, he was committed to keep Congress united. He will be missed always. His demise is a big loss not only to the entire political class but to the nation also. In today’s time, he will be missed more by the Congress party,” said Gehlot.
It is not known to many that Ahmed Patel was only the second Muslim after Ehsan Jafri to be elected as a Lok Sabha MP in Gujarat where Muslims comprise almost 10 per cent of the total population.
Patel, who started his political career by contesting local body elections in Bharuch District of Gujarat, was first spotted by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1977, he contested elections for the sixth Lok Sabha from Bharuch and won. He went on to win three more elections from the constituency.
After losing Lok Sabha polls from Bharuch, where he was known as Babu Bhai, in the wake of the Ram Temple movement, Patel left Gujarat forever. He was then sent to the Upper House by the party.
Patel made a record for representing his home state Gujarat 8 times in Parliament – three times in Lok Sabha and five times in Rajya Sabha.