Congress leader Ahmed Patel got 44 votes in a photo finish race to retain his Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat. Here's what you need to know about him.
Congress leader Ahmed Patel got 44 votes in a photo finish race to retain his Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat. Counting of votes for the high-stakes election to the three Rajya Sabha seats of Gujarat began last night after a delay of several hours, following the decision of the Election Commission to invalidate the votes of two rebel Congress MLAs. Following a dramatic series of events that lasted until the wee hours of Wednesday, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel was re-elected to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat along with BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani. Patel has been known to be a powerful and influential leader in the Congress. At the age of 28, he managed to jump ahead of the anti-Congress sentiment in the country post emergency, to win a Lok Sabha seat. After 40 years he was part of another big election and this win is massive as he played against all odds. He has been known to be a leader who works in the background as a quintessential backroom strategist.
Patel has worked with many generations of the Gandhis and is known to be Congress’ crisis manager. But this time, owing to some last minute defections from the party, Patel was in crisis. Going back to the post emergency era, there was an anti-Congress wave in India. In the 1977 elections, which Indira Gandhi lost, Patel stood firm and won his first Lok Sabha seat, from Bharuch. Later, he became close to Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s. A Nehru-Gandhi family loyalist, he has represented Gujarat seven times in Parliament – three-time as Lok Sabha member from Bharuch and four-time as Rajya Sabha member. He then went on to win two more Lok Sabha elections back-to-back in 1980 and 1984.
However, Patel found it difficult to win a direct election when BJP came to power in the state. He lost the Lok Sabha election in 1990. He took the Rajya Sabha route to Delhi in 1993. He was re-elected to the Upper House of Parliament in 1999, 2005 and 2011. After his win on Tuesday, Patel tweeted: “This is not just my victory. It is a defeat of the most blatant use of money power, muscle power and abuse of state machinery.”
Patel, a self-made politician, is the son of a social worker. He was born in a small village in Bharuch district in south Gujarat. He had made his way from the Youth Congress to become its state president.