Late Congress leader Ahmed Patel's son Faisal Patel met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in New Delhi on Saturday with speculation mounting that the young Patel scion may look beyond the Congress and head for greener pastures.
Faisal posted his picture with Kejriwal on social media and wrote: "Proud to finally meet our Delhi CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal ji! As a Delhi resident, I am an ardent admirer of his work ethic and leadership skills. Discussed Artificial Intelligence's impact on humanity and the current political affairs in the country."
The meeting is in a sense disturbing for the Congress as the senior Patel was a staunch loyalist of party president Sonia Gandhi and was perceived to be the most powerful person in the party after the Gandhi family.
Sources say that Patel's son meeting the Delhi Chief Minister is significant with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) eyeing the Gujarat polls and searching for a credible face in the state.
In recent times, Kejriwal has visited Gujarat and in the just-concluded urban polls, the party did well in Surat where the Congress was decimated by the AAP.
Ahmed Patel had a huge following in Gujarat because of his access to people cutting across party lines and wielded considerable influence at his home turf in Bharuch.
Sources close to Faisal Patel say that he has not been given any assurance by the party since the demise of his father who passed away due to Covid and was a trusted trouble-shooter.
Faisal is a greenhorn in politics as he was not involved in political activity when the late Ahmed Patel was active in the party.
But sources say the family now wants to be rehabilitated in politics. This cannot happen without the Gandhi family's nod.
The only way for Faisal to take the plunge is if he can be drafted in state politics as the Lok Sabha elections are still a few years away in 2024. But the Gujarat assembly goes to polls next year.
AAP had secured 27 seats in the Gujarat Municipal elections and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said the people of Gujarat have voted for politics of work since they were fed up with the politics of the BJP and the Congress.
Sources say that AAP needs young and credible faces and its eyeing many leaders including Hardik Patel to spearhead the party in the state.
But it is too early to reach any conclusion as all the stakeholders are tightlipped about the outcome of the meeting.
AAP is trying to expand its base beyond Delhi and Punjab as party leader Saurabh Bhardwaj claimed that the party did really well in the recent Gram Panchayat elections in Maharashtra. In the panchayat elections of Himachal Pradesh, it fielded 40 candidates and won in 36 seats.