Ahmed Patel, a senior Congress leader and close to the Gandhi family, died on Wednesday morning. Ahmed Patel has been a three-time Lok Sabha and five-time Rajya Sabha MP, but not a single minister. Interestingly, he was the last Muslim MP to reach Lok Sabha from Gujarat. Ahmed Patel won the Lok Sabha elections from Bharuch for the third time in 1984 and after losing to the BJP in 1989, he finally took the path to the Rajya Sabha. It has been more than 30 years since then, but no other Muslim MP could reach the Lok Sabha in Gujarat.
Let us know that Gujarat has about 10 per cent Muslim population, which influence the seats in the areas of Ahmedabad, Panchmahal, Kheda, Anand, Bharuch, Navsari, Sabarkantha, Jamnagar and Junagadh. Despite this, Muslims are not represented in the Lok Sabha and there are only four MLAs in the assembly. In the 2017 assembly elections, the Congress fielded six Muslim candidates, out of which only four could win. Earlier in 2012, only two Muslims could reach the assembly.
After the formation of Gujarat as a state in 1962, only one Muslim candidate won the first Loksa elections. Zohra Chavda had reached the Lok Sabha by winning the Banaskantha seat. The Congress was wiped out from across the country in the 1977 Lok Sabha elections after the Emergency, but 10 Congress MPs were elected from Gujarat. Two Muslim leaders won from them and both of them were from the Congress party. Ahmed Patel from Bharuch and Ehsan Jafri from Ahmedabad reached Parliament.
Gujarat has the highest number of Muslim voters from Bharuch Lok Sabha seat. Presently, there are about 23 percent Muslim voters in Bharuch. The Congress fielded 8 Muslim candidates from Bharuch since 1962, but only one of them, Ahmed Patel, was able to win three times. Ahmed Patel became MP for the first time in 1977 at the age of 26 and then won the Bharuch seat in 1982 and 1984.
In the 1989 Lok Sabha elections, Ahmed Patel had once again fielded from Bharuch seat, but this time he lost the political battle. Ahmed Patel was defeated by BJP’s Chandu Deshmukh by about 1 lakh 15 thousand votes. After this, Ahmed Patel did not contest the Lok Sabha elections again and he took the path of Rajya Sabha to reach Parliament. No other Muslim MP has reached the Lok Sabha from Gujarat since this election.
Interestingly, since 1989, only seven Muslim candidates have contested Lok Sabha elections from Gujarat and all these were contesting on the Congress Party ticket. In 2014, the Congress fielded 67 Muslim candidates across the country. Of these, the Congress had nominated a Muslim candidate from Navsari seat of Gujarat to Maqsood Mirza, but he fell badly in the Modi wave. After this, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress gave a ticket to a Muslim in Gujarat. Sher Khan Abdul Shakur Pathan was fielded from Congress Bharuch seat, but he too could not win from Ahmed Patel dominated seat. At the same time, Ahmed Patel is the last Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat. In such a situation, it is to be seen who now handles his political legacy.