"No Betrayal": Ahmed Patel's Daughter After AAP Gets Bharuch Lok Sabha Seat

The Bharuch seat in Gujarat was won by Ahmed Patel in the 1977, 1980, and 1984 general elections, but has been held by the BJP since then, with Chandubhai Deshmukh and Mansukhbhai Vasava dominating for Prime Minister Modi's party.

Mumtaz Patel is late Congress leader Ahmed Patel's daughter.

New Delhi:

Congress leader Mumtaz Patel confessed to "disappointment", but dismissed talk of "betrayal", after the Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat's Bharuch - held by her father, Ahmed Patel, between 1977 and 1984 - was given to the Aam Aadmi Party as part of a pan-India accord before the general election.

Ms Patel told NDTV she understood the Congress faced certain compulsions in negotiating the seat-sharing deal with the AAP, which will also contest Gujarat's Bhavnagar. The Congress will contest the other 24, as the two bid to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party from a third successive clean sweep.

"Of course, I'm not going to deny I was deeply disappointed and upset... but I was told alliance talks at a pan-India level would not progress without the Bharuch seat being first settled," she told NDTV.

She also said the Congress' three senior-most figures - former boss Sonia Gandhi, MP Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra - had all reached out to explain the position regarding the Bharuch seat.

"It is not about betrayal... disappointment, yes. But I understand and respect the compulsions... it must have been impossible. The Bharuch seat was in negotiation for two months. If it was so easy (to keep it for the Congress), it would have been sorted a month ago," Ms Patel said Monday.

READ | AAP Names Jailed Gujarat MLA As Bharuch Lok Sabha Candidate

"Giving these two to the AAP got the Congress seats in Assam, Goa, and Chandigarh. And AAP also backed off from other six seats it wanted in Gujarat," she added, providing an insight into prolonged talks between the two parties - both INDIA bloc members - that concluded last week.

READ | Congress On Seat Share Speed Run, Deal Done With AAP For Gujarat

The discussions marked a significant step forward for the group, which had till then struggled to reach seat-share agreements even as the clock ticks down to (the not yet announced) polling day.

The AAP initially wanted eight seats in Gujarat, as well as the Guwahati and Chandigarh seats and the two in Goa, Ms Patel said. "They backtracked from all in return for Bharuch," she explained.

"After hearing all this, I did not want the alliance, at a pan-India level, to break because of me."

Last week Ms Patel posted a note on X (formerly Twitter) to her supporters.

READ | After Congress-AAP Announce Seat Deal In Gujarat, An Apology

"Deeply apologise to our district cadre for not being able to secure the Bharuch Lok Sabha seat in alliance. I share your disappointment," she said, adding, "Together, we will regroup to make Congress stronger. We won't let Ahmed Patel's 45 years of legacy go in vain."

Ms Patel did fire a warning shot, saying, "I will 100 per cent say that I am planning to work hard and win the seat back, not just for my father, but also for the Congress." She would not, however, confirm if she would campaign for the AAP, only saying, "I will continue working for Bharuch."

Mr Patel's daughter also made it clear - in the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's frequent dynastic politics jibe - that neither she nor her brother, Faisal Patel, had "it so easy".

"It becomes difficult when people troll us about dynastic politics. Everyone thinks it is easy... that we get everything on a platter. But I have been working for two years, at first without any post or responsibility... on the ground with whatever help I have from those respected and loved my dad."

READ | Patel's Daughter's "Alliance Dharma" Remark As AAP Gets Bharuch

"Nobody promised (the Bharuch seat) on a platter. I have been working on the ground because I want to win this on my own merit. If tomorrow I make something of myself, then it should be not be because I am Ahmed Patel's daughter. I am proud to be so, but I want to rise on my own merit."

The BJP, meanwhile, has taken a jab at the Congress, calling it "the revenge of the Prince" - a crude reference to Rahul Gandhi. "In the Congress, one dynasty is more equal than the others... giving away Bharuch is Rahul Gandhi's attempt to humiliate (Ahmed Patel's) family," Amit Malviya declared.

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