In a massive setback for the Congress leadership, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, a close aide of the Sonia Gandhi has decided not to contest fearing a loss amidst a serious internal rift within the Gujarat unit of the party. The Congress party has now fielded another candidate from Baruch Lok Sabha constituency ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
According to the reports, the Congress leadership had earlier urged the senior leader Ahmed Patel to contest the Lok Sabha election from Bharuch in Gujarat. The party had felt that with Ahmed Patel’s candidature, it had a chance to win Bharuch as well as improve its performance in other constituencies in the state.
However, according to Republic TV, an internal rift in the Congress erupted within the Congress party regarding the issue of Ahmed Patel contesting from Bharuch constituency. Recently, few senior party leaders were also seen raising slogans against Ahmed Patel, calling him a ‘villain’ and had protested against his candidacy from Bharuch. Following the protests, Ahmed Patel seems to have unnerved of a defeat and reportedly has backtracked now from contesting, said Republic TV report.
In addition to that, Congress is also facing stiff opposition in Bharuch constituency as Chhotu Vasava led by Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) is also set to contest from the Bharuch, furthering the fear of loss for Ahmed Patel. Chhotu Vasava, who had helped Ahmed Patel in securing a victory in Rajya Sabha elections was expected to be the joint-candidate from the Bharuch constituency. However, Congress party’s reluctance to cede the seat to BTP has made Vasava contest against the Congress from Bharuch.
Following Ahmed Patel’s decision not to contest fearing a defeat, the Congress party on Thursday announced Sherkhan Abdul Shakur Pathan as the party’s candidate from the Bharuch Lok Sabha constituency in Gujarat.
Bharuch constituency is one of the 26 Lok Sabha constituencies from the state of Gujarat. Ahmed Patel had been a member of Parliament from the Bharuch constituency three times before in 1977, 1980 and 1984. Bharatiya Janata Party has been winning the Bharuch Lok Sabha seat continuously from 1989. BJP has fielded Mansukhbhai Vasava, who is a five-time incumbent MP from Bharuch.