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Ahmed Patel: Sonia Gandhi’s top lieutenant and key Congress strategist | India News

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NEW DELHI: Ahmed Patel, a staunch loyalist of Nehru-Gandhi family and Congress Party‘s top strategist, died in a Gurugram hospital on Wednesday due to multi-organ failure.
Patel, 71, was suffering from complications related to Covid-19.
“I have lost an irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend. I mourn his passing and I feel deeply for his bereaved family to whom I offer my sincere feelings of empathy and support,” Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Wednesday while condoling the death of Ahmed Patel.
Here are a few notable things about Patel:
*Ahmed Patel was the go-to man in the Congress who kept a low profile but quietly wielded power and meticulously executed decisions of the leadership.
*He served as an effective link between the party and government during the two terms of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) between 2004 and 2014. As political secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, he had access to leadership that no other leader in the party had and worked the channels to work out various issues.
*Patel worked as political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi for 16 years and rose in stature with time. His rapport with party leaders across generations came in handy in the role as he efficiently executed decisions while acting as a bridge between the top leadership and party functionaries at various levels.
*Patel was also the party’s key link with leaders across the political divide. While he played a key role in managing the party’s ties with allies when the United Progressive Alliance governments were in power, he worked equations when the party was not in power to see that Congress remained the principal pole in opposition and worked closely with other parties during joint programmes against the BJP-led government.
Political journey: A councillor to key Congress functionary
*Born on August 21, 1949, Patel pursued BSc at Shree Jayendra Puri Arts and Science College, Bharuch, South Gujarat University.
*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.
*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.
*A long-serving member of the Congress Working Committee, he was among those who contested and won elections to the party’s highest decision-making body. Patel had earlier also served as the treasurer of the party when Congress was out of power from 1996-2000. He had also been involved with the work of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.
*He was appointed party treasurer in August 2018 ahead of the Lok Sabha elections as Congress faced a fund crunch. The appointment came when Rahul Gandhi was the party president showing his resourcefulness and indispensability to the party.
*He was unhappy over the letter that a group of 23 Congress leaders wrote to Sonia giving their suggestions for the party’s revamp and instead wanted them to convey their views by meeting her.
(With inputs from agencies)

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