Congress leader Ahmed Patel (Photo Credit: Venkaiah Naidu Twitter)
Congress leader Ahmed Patel (Photo Credit: Venkaiah Naidu Twitter)

With departure of Ahmed Patel have lost a friend in opposition (Tribute)

ANI | Updated: Nov 25, 2020 12:01 IST

By Prabhat Jha
New Delhi [India], November 25 (ANI): Born on August 21, 1949, in Gujarat's Bharuch, Ahmed Patel was always an integral part of the Congress party. He was a diligent man who never spoke against Congress, which for him, was larger than the Gandhi family.
When it came to addressing the internal party issues, he was the strongest pillar of Congress. Since the time of Indira Gandhi, he has been a trusted associate of the Gandhi family. He was also the Parliamentary Secretary to Rajiv Gandhi and later became the political advisor to Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
At a time when senior party leaders like Kapil Sibal, Ghulam Nabi Azad wrote letters and publicly expressed concern about the Congress, Ahmed Patel never spoke anything against the party publicly.
It is true that Ahmed Patel was not a leader of the masses but a diligent Congress worker, the role which he duly accepted. He once himself said, "I am not the leader of masses, I am a Congress worker."
He served as a member of Parliament in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha several times. In his last term, he narrowly won the Rajya Sabha seat. In the Central Hall of Parliament, he used to share his views on the current situation of the Gandhi family.
Also, he was quite popular among journalists and used to have candid conversations with them.
Patel used to keep an eye on Congress activities in all states including Gujarat. He never left the Gandhi family's side during any crisis. For him, the family came first, then the Rajya Sabha and followed by the Congress party.
Congress leaders from various states met him as he played an important role in all the decision making of the party. Leaders who could not meet Sonia Gandhi used to talk to him. He also served as a bridge between Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
It is also true that many people in Congress used to envy him. Patel used to implement the decisions that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi made. As a result, the leaders who disagreed with the decisions of the Gandhi family were opponents of Patel.
Despite being against the Bharatiya Janata Party, Ahmed Patel never uttered any abusive words about them. He never hit below the belt.
When Dr Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister, it was Patel who used to meet Atal Bihari Vajpayee on behalf of the Congress and discuss important issues before the Parliament session.
Moreover, Patel was very popular among journalists. Their dialogue in the Central Hall of Parliament will always be remembered. He was amiable with the scribes, some of whom he befriended, had conversations and shared food with.
With the passing away of Ahmed Patel, Congress has lost a great party worker, who was also a true friend of the Gandhi family. Because of his departure, we have also lost a friend in the opposition. I pay my humble tributes to him.
(Prabhat Jha is a former MP and ex-Vice President of BJP) (ANI)