Ahmed Patel was a prominent Indian National Congress (INC) politician who was known for his political strategy and administrative skills. He served as a Member of Parliament for eight terms: three times in Rajya Sabha and five times in Lok Sabha.
His political legacy came to an end on November 25, 2020, when he passed away due to multi-organ failure after a month-long battle with COVID-19.
Ahmed Patel was born on Sunday, August 21, 1949 (71 years old; at the time of death), in the village of Piramal, located in the Bharuch district of Gujarat. His full name was Ahmedbhai Mohammedbhai Patel. He completed a Bachelor of Science (BSc) from the Shree Jayendrapuri Puri College of Arts and Sciences of Bharuch, University of South Gujarat, Surat in 1976. Once during his university life, he was with his father in a cooperative banking movement.
It was after this that he became involved with public service. Later, he joined the Indian youth congress. He rose from the grassroots and his skills along with his loyalty to the party helped him become one of the top politicians in the Indian National Congress (INC).
Family and caste
Ahmed Patel was born into a farming family.
Fathers and brothers
Patel was born to Mohammed Ishikji Patel (father) and Hawaben Mohammedbhai (mother). He was the third child of his parents. His father, Mohammed Ishakji, was one of the pioneers of the South Gujarat cooperative trade union movement in the 1960s, who raised his voice against the exploitation of small borrowers by private financiers.
Wife and sons
He married Memoona Ahmed Patel in 1976. Memoona belonged to a family of freedom fighters who worked closely with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. He had two children, Faisal Patel (son) and Mumtaz Patel (daughter). His two sons are far from politics. Faisal Patel, a Harvard alumnus, is an entrepreneur, although no information is available about his daughter Mumtaz Patel.
In 1976, at the age of 27, Ahmed Patel embarked on his political career, successfully contesting the elections to the local body of his Piraman village, on the list of the Indian National Congress. Impressed by Patel’s work, in 1977, after the Internal Emergency was canceled, the Indian National Congress (INC) sent him from the Bharuch Lok Sabha constituency before the 1977 Lok Sabha elections.
As a result, he won his first Lok Sabha election by defeating Unia Suleman Essuf of the Janata Party by a huge margin of more than 63,000 votes. He then retained the seat for another two consecutive terms by winning the next Lok Sabha elections in 1980 and 1984. In 1984, he, along with Arun Singh and Oscar Fernandes, became the first parliamentary secretary to the newly elected Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
During the government of Rajiv Gandhi in 1986, he was given the responsibility of heading the INC unit in Gujarat, a position he held for the next two years. In 1995, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha for the first time and then served four more terms. In 2001, he was appointed secretary to the president of the Indian National Congress (INC), Sonia Gandhi, a position he held until 2017.
He was treasurer of the All India Congressional Committee from 2018 until his death in November 2020.
On Wednesday, November 25, 2020, Ahmed Patel died of multiple organ failure at Medanta Hospital, Gurugram, more than a month after he tested positive for COVID-19. Ahmed Patel’s mortal remains were buried next to his parents’ grave in their ancestral village, Piramal.
His net worth at the time of his death was Rs. 5.3 million rupees.
Facts / Trivia
- During his early days, Ahmed Patel was an avid sportsman. He was also captain of his university’s cricket and badminton teams.
- Apart from politics, he mainly devoted himself to philanthropic and charitable works, especially in his home district, Bharuch. He had also adopted the village of Vandari under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna.
- A three-time Bharuch MP, Ahmed Patel was one of two Muslim MPs elected by Gujarat in Lok Sabha to date. The first was INC’s Ehsan Jafri, who was killed during the 2002 riots in Gujarat.
- Ahmed Patel was known for being a low-key person who stayed away from controversy.
- He believed that there are only two pillars of modern society; universal health and quality education.
- He argued that the maturity of a society can be interpreted simply by the way it treats the elderly and children with disabilities.
- He firmly believed in the empowerment of women. According to him, women were the backbone of this nation, and if women are weak, the nation is weak.
- He believed in unity in diversity and considered it one of the main strengths of the country.
- Ahmed always wanted youth to join politics and take it on as a serious profession, as he believed that only youth could bring a decisive change in the system of a country.