Ahmed Patel’s ‘Jhoola’ is Still & Empty, Much Like Gujarat Congress. Will His Absence Swing Votes for BJP, AAP?

A giant ‘jhoola’ sits empty in a sprawling lounge. It was Ahmed Patel’s favorite place to sit down. The vacancy of the ‘jhoola’, now sometimes utilized by his daughter Mumtaz Patel, displays the vacancy of the Congress in Bharuch which was represented by AP, as Patel was known as for many years. It maybe additionally displays the stillness throughout the Congress within the state.

Outdoors, a handful of supporters and celebration employees have a look at Mumtaz Patel with hope, wishing that she will be able to do for them what her father did for the celebration within the space and in addition carry a slice of Bharuch to Delhi the place AP’s energy throughout the Congress was unchallenged until he died resulting from Covid-19 issues two years in the past.

“It’s not that I used to be not supplied something by the celebration. It’s simply that I’m nonetheless studying. I must know the individuals. However sure, after my father’s loss of life, tons has modified. Some issues want to vary and I’m positive they’ll,” Mumtaz Patel advised me.


A lot has modified. One, that is the primary election the Congress is dealing with within the state minus Ahmed Patel. Whereas the jury continues to be out on whether or not he may do a lot for his celebration within the state, the place it has been out of energy for over 20 years, even his critics settle for that the challenges the celebration is dealing with now may maybe have been countered or labored upon by AP.

Ahmed Patel may maybe have satisfied or tried to persuade many like Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakore to not be part of the BJP. Not simply this, about 200 celebration leaders have left the Congress from Bharuch alone to hitch the BJP. It is a enormous blow and in addition exhibits that Bharuch — which has been a BJP bastion — may have accomplished with AP’s presence.

Ahmed Patel’s daughter Mumtaz sits on the swing left empty by her father as she waits for the air to clear. But it surely’s one other state they worry may go the Punjab and Delhi manner the place Congress will ultimately fade away. (News18)

However the greater problem is outdoors Bharuch — the Aam Aadmi Get together (AAP). News18 met up with some individuals on the Bharuch railway station the place Hussain tells me: “We’re in search of higher roads, jobs. However now we’re taking a look at a 3rd various.”

Prodded additional, he says: “BJP has had its Lok Sabha MP right here for years. However we’ve bought nothing. Nonetheless, on the stage of the Centre and the state, they’ve given us a lot. The Congress is an enormous disappointment. They’ve allow us to down. We don’t need to have a look at them now. Allow us to now have a look at AAP.”

Swaraj, who lives in Panchmahal, nods in settlement. “I don’t see the Congress leaders in my space anymore. I need to ask them why they’ve disappeared.”


In 2017, Congress had put up present, guaranteeing that BJP wins with lower than 100 seats. Using on a excessive of Ahmed Patel having received a tricky neck-to-neck Rajya Sabha ballot, the Congress additionally banked on the Patidar agitation to confront the BJP. The trio of Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani — together with Rahul Gandhi’s ‘bus yatra’ — had boosted the Congress, forcing the BJP to unleash Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a number of campaigns.

This time, the BJP is taking no possibilities and is concentrating on the tribal and rural areas to counter the AAP and Congress. With Hardik Patel by its aspect, it hopes to blunt the Patidar disillusionment.


In distinction, the Congress appears to be taking no photographs at a win or efficiency. As at all times, there’s a downside of lots. No clear face has been labored upon. The state elders — Arun Mothwadia, Shaktisinh Gohil, and Bharat Singh Solanki — are at loggerheads. The marketing campaign, subsequently, has now change into centre-heavy, with not many leaders having a base.

As a frontrunner on the Congress workplace advised me: “There are extra press conferences and arrivals on the airport than campaigns.” The state of affairs is so tense that few leaders demanded that the Gandhis step in to marketing campaign to make the elections look a bit high-profile. Nonetheless, Rahul Gandhi needed to reduce quick his Gujarat marketing campaign to a day and prohibit himself to Rajkot and Surat.

It’s not that Ahmed Patel was thought of a match to Modi or a powerful grassroots chief past Bharuch and Ankleshwar. There have been complaints towards him of taking part in favourites. However ultimately, with a resurgent AAP and aggressive BJP, maybe the presence of AP would have added sharpness to a method which the Congress wants within the state.

In the meantime, again in Piraman village the place Ahmed Patel lived, Mumtaz sits gingerly on the ‘jhoola’ left empty by her father. She and her celebration are ready for the air to clear. But it surely’s one other state they worry may go the Punjab and Delhi manner the place Congress will ultimately fade away. In contrast to the reminiscence of Ahmed Patel.

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