Rahul Gandhi to Decide My Future Role In Party: Ahmed Patel
Congress Working Committee member and senior party leader Ahmed Patel said he is no longer political secretary to Sonia Gandhi and his role will be decided by new party president Rahul Gandhi.
Patel, 68, served as Sonia Gandhi’s key strategist for 16 years and is considered the second-most powerful person in the party. His tenure in this post ended when Sonia Gandhi stepped down as president of the party earlier this month. “I cease to be political secretary to Mrs. Gandhi, but will continue to be Congress Working Committee member,” Patel said in a conversation with ET. “It is now for Congress President to take a call on his team.”
Rahul Gandhi took over as party president days before the results of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections were announced. Although the Congress lost in both states, Patel was upbeat about the party’s future under the stewardship of Rahul Gandhi. “Rahul-ji is young, energetic, has the vision and wants to do something for the country. And Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, after consulting with her children, will decide on her future role but as of now, she continues to be Chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party” – He said.
Patel’s optimism stems primarily from the resurgence of the party in Gujarat, where the Congress increased its tally to 77 seats from 61earlier.
With Rahul Gandhi’s ‘tireless campaigning skills’ as witnessed in Gujarat, the Congress is ‘immensely energized,’ said Patel, a member of the Rajya Sabha from the state. On the perception in some quarters that Rahul Gandhi is a reluctant politician, Patel said, “Rahul-ji is and always was a serious politician, but there was a sinister campaign on social media, a conspiracy to malign, to ridicule him.
He is a well-meaning person with a vision – it is before everyone, the way he campaigned in Gujarat in a dignified way.” Patel claimed the Congress could have crossed 100 seats in Gujarat if it hadn’t been for the poor choice of its candidates and demands by allies Bahujan Samaj Party and Nationalist Congress Party. He also said there were suspicions of tampering with electronic voting machines.
What Patel Said –
We could have crossed 100 seats, but at some seats our candidate selection was bad and then BSP and NCP also damaged us. They were demanding more seats, so alliance didn’t really work out… Then, there is a strong suspicion of tampering with EVMs. Surprisingly at some of our rallies, there was the massive turnout, but we suffered in those seats. I think the Election Commission should satisfy people about EVMs.
During the campaign, PM Modi said former PM Manmohan Singh attended a meeting at Aiyar’s residence in New Delhi with the High Commissioner of Pakistan and the former Pakistan Foreign Minister. Congress had said the meeting was routine. “It is shameful that Manmohan Singh was targeted during the elections. He is an honorable man, a man of integrity. PM Modi shouldn’t have indulged in this mudslinging to achieve political purposes and should have maintained the dignity of the position he holds.