Praful Patel

Updated on Nov 19, 2005 05:33 PM IST

A close confidante of Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, he has been associated with his leader for a long time.

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A trusted lieutenant of Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel is currently a Rajya Sabha Member and NCP spokesman. An industrialist, Patel is partner of Chhotabhai Jethabai Patel Company in his hometown Gondia which manfactures bidi.

47-year-old Patel started his political career as President of the Gondia Municipal Council. He was elected to Lok Sabha in 1991, 1996 and 1998. He had lost the last two Lok Sabha elections in eastern Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. After losing 1999 election, he entered Rajya Sabha in 2000.

Patel is the president of Western Indian Football Association (WIFA), an apex soccer body in Maharashtra, and is involved in All India Football Federation, Cricket Club of India, National Sports Club of India, Mumbai and Cricket Association, Mumbai. As chairman of Gondia Education Society, he is managing 25 colleges, both academic and professional, including engineering and 50 schools.

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