Extraordinary Politician, Ordinary Disposition

By Bhupesh Baghel

Ahmed Patel was an extraordinary man politically but he had an ordinary disposition. Not everyone is capable of such a demeanour. He was the architect of important decision making in politics. From his early days, he carried out huge responsibilities while always keeping a low profile — away from the media and far from headlines.

In 1977, he reached the Lok Sabha at the age of 28. With consecutive wins, he was elected to the Lok Sabha for the third time in 1984, and in 1985, Rajiv Gandhi made him his Parliamentary Secretary.

Ahmed continued to bear important political responsibilities. He was instrumental in the formation of the UPA at the Centre in 2004. But instead of joining the government, he chose the role of a bridge between the government and the organisation.

Being the political secretary of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, he remained the ‘troubleshooter’ of the alliance. He kept in constant touch with the Congress leaders across the country and kept things going.

While working as treasurer or secretary of Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel’s style remained unique. He worked long hours without wearing off. He used to take tough decisions and issue strict instructions with the utmost composure.

When it came to choosing between power and organisation, he always chose the organisation. He was like a school for students of politics like me and there was always an opportunity to learn from him.

Ahmed Patel remained relevant and useful to the party at all times. He was a very clever strategist and also a skilled diplomat. He also saw the golden days of the Congress party and the tough times as well.

But he remained a typical Congressman in his motives and in his work. Other party members should take a look at Ahmed Bhai’s life and his work, to see what kind of Congress soldier he was.

Ahmed Bhai was a strong pillar of the Congress. With his departure, a void will be left in the party, whom no one will ever fill.

(Bhupesh Baghel is a Congress leader and Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh)

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