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Ahmed Patel’s death major loss for Sachin Pilot

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The death of veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel seems to be a major loss for Congress leader Sachin Pilot. Ahmed Patel was the troubleshooter for the Congress when Sachin Pilot started a rebellion against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. His intervention saw the return of the 22 rebels to the Congress party.

The rebellion in Rajasthan came just after Madhya Pradesh where the Kamal Nath government fell and saving the Rajasthan government became an issue of utmost importance. A seasoned campaigner, Patel sent KC Venugopal, the AICC organisational secretary along with Ajay Maken and Randeep Surjewala to Jaipur to handle the situation. This stopped the exodus and no further damage was done.

Committee headed by Ahmed Patel

Patel through his crisis management expertise created a situation where Pilot had to send a word to Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi that he was ready to come back. Pilot returned after an assurance that his grievances would be heard.  Sonia Gandhi formed a three-member committee headed by Patel with KC Venugopal and Ajay Maken as members. This committee had heard Pilot twice in Delhi, but it made no headway and no report was submitted.

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In 2018, when the Congress government was being formed in the state and Sachin Pilot as the PCC president staked a claim to become the chief minister, Patel played a key role to see that Gehlot becomes the chief minister against Rahul Gandhi’s wishes. It was Patel, who convinced Sonia Gandhi that only Gehlot can lead the party to electoral success in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Gehlot became the chief minister and Pilot his deputy. But Pilot continued as the PCC president, thus holding two positions simultaneously.

Congress fared poorly in the Lok Sabha election losing all the 25 seats. But an ambitious Pilot, irked by losing chief ministership, led a rebellion that failed.

No rehabilitation for Sachin Pilot so far

But the Patel committee could not help Pilot’s rehabilitation. It was a strategic effort and Patel never wanted to change Gehlot or give a respectable position to Pilot. In the death of Patel, it is Pilot who is left in the lurch and with an uncertain future. But Gehlot too lost a friend, Gehlot tweeted, “Today I have lost a friend and a trusted partner. No one will be able to fill that void.”

But in the political circle, it is being said that only Gehlot has the capacity to replace Patel as he is a person of extraordinary political brilliance and commands the confidence of Sonia Gandhi. He could be a good fundraiser and good support to Sonia Gandhi. It is likely that he would be given the responsibility of serving the party as a treasurer while continuing as the chief minister.

 

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