Bypassed, Ahmed Patel fights to remain relevant

Though known to be media shy, Patel in the past week or so has given interviews to several channels and newspapers. In the season of vitriolic wordy duels and personal lives of leaders making much noise, the interviews of Patel may have been lost on audibility but certainly not in significance.

There is a common link in most of his media conversations. While Patel has talked about creating possibilities for a non-BJP government, he has tried to consistently ‘insist’ that there has been no friction between Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka. ‘There is truth in it. The differences are actually between aides of their mother Sonia Gandhi and them,’ said a senior Congress functionary indicating that the old guard has fallen out with the next generation.

According to sources, given the poor campaign of the party during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, the supervision of the same has been taken away from Patel and the party war room shifted from Gurdwara Rakabganj Road to Tughlaq Lane residence of Rahul Gandhi. With work taken away, no wonder Patel, away from the Capital, for past 10 days is camping in Gujarat.

‘The war room operations are now being supervised directly by Priyanka Gandhi assisted by a team of close aides like Kanishka Singh, Mohan Gopal and Haryana Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala,’ said a Congress insider indicating a clear shift in the power base within the party.

Given the political wilderness staring at them, sources said, Patel, who even avoided media when his name was embroiled in the infamous note for vote scandal during the UPA I government, has come out to ‘establish relevance’ in the changed political circumstances. Insiders indicate that Patel, who was the main interlocutor for the Congress negotiating with the allies, is also being overlooked as the Rahul-Priyanka combine want to rebuild afresh relations with erstwhile members of the UPA.
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