A councillor to key Congress functionary: The journey of Ahmed Patel

New Delhi: Ahmed Patel was a name synonymous with being the most trusted loyalist of Gandhi family in Congress politics who worked with three generations of Gandhis.
He was elected as a local body councillor in 1976 in Bharuch Municipal body of Gujarat at the age of 25 years and became the political secretary of Sonia Gandhi and remained a bridge during UPA-I tenure between the party and the government.

Patel started his political journey in Congress from Youth Wing and became a highlighted leader in Janta period and in the elections after Emergency in 1977. He was asked by the party to contest on Congress ticket from Bharuch Lok Sabha constituency. When many big players of Congress lost elections, a young youth Congress leader won the election and became a Member of Parliament. This not only gave him a chance to be in the national politics but he was also spotted by Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi.

Congress veteran Ahmed Patel passes away following COVID complications

He was appointed as Gujarat Youth Congress president subsequently. He went on to represent Gujarat eight times in the Parliament of India and three times in the lower house between 1977-1989. He represented Congress five times in the Upper House since 1993.

Patel Became a joint secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC) during Indira Gandhi’s tenure. He then came close to Rajiv Gandhi too and became parliamentary secretary to Rajiv Gandhi.

On the basis of his organisational skills, he was appointed the secretary of the Jawahar Bhawan Trust in 1988. He was asked by Rajiv Gandhi to supervise the construction of Jawahar Bhawan on New Delhi’s Raisina Road, a project which had been stalled for more than a decade.

In a record one year, just in time for Jawaharlal Nehru’s birth centenary celebrations, Patel successfully created Jawahar Bhawan.

His political stature rose again when Sonia Gandhi elected as the Congress President. The second Muslim leader to be elected as an MP from Gujarat after Ehsan Jafri found a bigger space in the party later on.

He went on to replace Ambika Soni as a political secretary of Congress President Sonia Gandhi. He played bigger roles from 2004 to 2014 from setting up coordination between the party and the government.

A leader to communicate with allies in the UPA. His last big battle which he won was his own Rajya Sabha Election in 2017. He replaced Moti Lal Vohra as Treasurer of All India Congress Committee.

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