Ahmed Patel, great Congress strategist

The Gujarat political mastermind always had a finger on the pulse of the people, recalls colleague BK Hariprasad 

Published: 26th November 2020 04:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2020 04:20 AM   |  A+A-

Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi administers oath of office to Congressmen Arun Singh, Oscar Fernandes and Ahmed Patel in 1985 | Express

Express News Service

I knew Ahmed Patel since 1980 when he was the Gujarat Youth Congress Committee president. But we worked closely from 1993-94 onwards when both of us served as members of the Rajya Sabha.

He was a great organiser and will be remembered for looking into the smallest organisational and logistical issues, but at the same time not losing the big picture. Over the years, he organised thousands of programmes and would personally take over Congress national president’s events to ensure zero errors.

Ahmed Patel:  1949-2020

I will always remember him as a Congressman who knew how to say ‘No’. For politicians who are natural ‘people pleasers’, the hardest word is ‘No’, but not for Ahmed Patel. He had said ‘no’ to PCC presidents, CMs, ministers and union ministers. He would never offend anyone, but say it in a way that you would understand.   

He was a man of tremendous compassion. I still remember that when one of our party workers, Narendra Bhudania, met with a freak accident in Gujarat and needed immediate medical attention, Ahmed Patel stepped in, got Bhudania airlifted and arranged for his admission at AIIMS. It was all done in a jiffy and within a few hours, the workers’ life was saved. He was forever a party worker’s man, and no Congress worker went away unhappy after meeting him.

He had his finger on the people’s pulse and had tremendous patience. He had no hang-ups over security and would meet ordinary Congress workers regularly, which was one of the secrets behind his long tenure at the top of the party.

When the elections were held in Gujarat after the 2002 Godhra riots, he made excellent arrangements and in those three months, he identified each block president. Knowing that they needed to move around a lot, he provided them with brand new Innovas, which ultimately produced good results on the ground.

(B K Hariprasad has served as general secretary/secretary to 17 states)  

(As told to Bansy Kalappa)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp