This is not just a political fight but it’s a personal battle of wits between BJP president Amit Shah and the fading Congress party stalwart Ahmed Patel. He is the political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and is famed to be her eyes and ears. Ahmed Patel the Sonia’s Man Friday, a single signal of whose fingers was enough to cause a cabinet reshuffle is facing the fight of his life. He has won four elections to the Upper House of Parliament from Gujarat and has been a three-time Lok Sabha MP before that. He has been a Rajya Sabha member since 1993. His career stretches right from the times of Indira Gandhi till the Sonia-Manmohan Era.
He was Indira Gandhi’s loyalist, Rajiv Gandhi’s buddy, Pranab Mukherjee’s partner-in-strategy and Sonia Gandhi’s most trusted aide. No Congress politician has ever sustained period of dominance like Ahmed Patel has.
A defeat in his home state would not only dent his political career but also the party’s morale in Gujarat would sink even further ahead of the assembly elections which will inadvertently result in more MPs and MLAs abandon the sinking that Congress ship is. It would be a killer blow right in heart of Sonia Gandhi’s inner power circle which not very long back set the agenda for the country. The battle is not for a single Rajya Sabha seat but for safeguarding of Sonia Gandhi’s political control and influence over the Congress party.
BJP its one step closer to a sooner-than-expected Congress Mukt Bharath. A loss for Ahmed Patel could mark the beginning of the end for the Gandhi parivar. The Rajya Sabha is the last institute where Congress has enough numbers to challenge BJP’s monopoly. It’s the only place where the opposition outnumbers the government even now. All that will change by mid-2018 but till then the BJP wants to create a state where the opposition is demoralised to an extent that it even stops thinking of a victory in 2019. Victory in UP was the first step, Amit Shah’s masterstroke in Bihar was the second; a Rajya Sabha victory in Gujarat will complete the razing of the opposition. Kerala and Bengal are next.
Narendra Modi has been a victim of Ahmed Patel’s excesses. Ahmed Patel was the one who let the Lutyen’s Media loose on Modi in the aftermath of 2002 Riots. The rivalry dates back to the 1990s, when Ahmed Patel quietly scripted split in BJP and Shankersinh Vaghela split the Bharatiya Janata Party right in the middle to form the Rashtriya Janata Party government with Congress’s support. Narendra Modi failed to read the wily manoeuvres of the Crafty Ahmed Patel and was exiled for ten long years from Gujarat Politics, only to return in 2001 and take the state by storm.
It’s payback time for Amit Shah, who holds Ahmed Patel and Sonia Gandhi responsible for his incarceration in the Ishrat Jahan and Sohrabuddin encounter case and his exile from Gujarat during the UPA years at the Centre.
Today the tables have turned. Shankarsinh Vaghela is a rebel again but this time he is providing covert support to the BJP. Amit Shah has the numbers firmly in control and he is poised to inflict a crushing defeat on Ahmed Patel. There can be no better sign of a confirmed victory than the opponent’s face. After Six Congress MLAs sent in their resignation to the Party, Ahmed Patel had no option but to abduct his own MLAs and hole them up in a resort in a “friendly” state – Karnataka that is.
But soon Tax officials raided multiple properties linked to DK Shivakumar, a top minister in Karnataka who was hosting a group of party legislators from Gujarat to avoid a break in their ranks ahead of a close Rajya Sabha election.
Well, talk about Plan A and B failing all at the same time.
It’s Curtains for Ahmed Patel. The quiet unassuming man from Gujarat who managed to keep his records spotless clean while washing The Family’s Dirty Linens. ‘Revenge is a dish best served cold’ they said but ‘Revenge never tasted this sweet’ they never said.