Other States

Ahmed Patel, a leader who remained synonymous with Congress for three decades

With the passing of Congress stalwart Ahmed Patel owing to post COVID-19 complications, Gujarat has lost a leader who remained synonymous with the party for over three decades. Being the longest serving parliamentarian but without holding any government position of power, Ahmedbhai was the tallest Congress leader from Gujarat in post Independent India.

In the 1977 post emergency Lok Sabha polls, Mr. Patel won from Bharuch as the youngest MP when the Congress was routed across the country. He was the first Muslim to be elected to the Lok Sabha from the State. Another Muslim leader elected to the Lok Sabha from Gujarat was Ehsan Jafri in 1980. He was killed in the Gujarat riots in 2002.

Mr. Patel’s political master was Congress stalwart from Bharuch district Harisinh Mahida, who was a Cabinet Minister in the State government and drafted Mr. Patel first in local taluka panchayat of Ankleshwar and then fielded him as a Lok Sabha candidate in 1977.


He won the three Lok Sabha polls consecutively — 1977, 1980 and 1985 — and lost two in 1989 and 1991 during the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. Since 1993, he had been a Rajya Sabha member from the State as the longest serving member with five consecutive terms.

“Without holding any position of power in either State or the Central government, Ahmedbhai remained the most powerful Congress leader from Gujarat in last three decades. He may not be a mass leader but his connect with party workers was immense, to the extent that in every taluka in Gujarat, there would be Congress workers having direct access to him,” said a former MP from Gujarat.

Interestingly, he obliged his political detractors and opponents like Madhavsinh Solanki, Amarsinh Chaudhary, Chimanbhai Patel, BK Gadhavi or even Shankarsinh Vaghela after he joined the Congress in 2000, with ticket for their children — Bharatsinh Solanki, Tushar Chaudhary, Sidhdharth Patel, Mukesh Gadhavi or Mahendrasinh Vaghela — all of whom became legislators or parliamentarians and even Union Ministers. But he ensured that no member from his family entered politics in his lifetime.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 1:40:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ahmed-patel-a-leader-who-remained-synonymous-with-congress-for-three-decades/article33179323.ece

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