Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel dies of coronavirus-linked complications
Ahmed Patel, a senior Congress leader and a Gandhi family loyalist, passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 71, his son Faisal Patel informed. On October 1, Patel informed he tested positive for COVID-19. He was admitted to Medanta Hospital, Gurugram, on November 15, where he breathed his last. Congress' President Sonia Gandhi said she lost "a faithful colleague and friend."
He passed away at 3:30 am
In a brief note, Faisal informed Patel passed away at 3:30 am this morning. "After testing positive for COVID-19 around a month back, his health worsened further due to multiple organ failures. May Allah grant him Jannatul firdaus, inshallah, (sic)" wrote Faisal. He urged well-wishers to maintain social distancing and other coronavirus-associated precautions at all times.
His role in strengthening Congress can't be forgotten: PM Modi
Expressing grief over the development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered Patel as a seasoned politician. "He spent years in public life, serving society. Known for his sharp mind, his role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered. Spoke to his son Faisal and expressed condolences," the BJP leader added. And Congress' Rahul Gandhi said it's a sad day.
Rahul said Patel "lived and breathed Congress"
"Shri Ahmed Patel was a pillar of Congress party. He lived and breathed Congress and stood with the party through its most difficult times. He was a tremendous asset. We will miss him. My love and condolences to Faisal, Mumtaz & the family, (sic)" tweeted Rahul.
Priyanka called him a friend "who stood by us"
Rahul's sister Priyanka wrote that she turned to Patel numerous times for advice. "He was a friend who stood by us all, steadfast, loyal, and dependable to the end. His passing away leaves an immense void. May his soul rest in peace," she added. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, "It is a great loss for Congress Party and all Congress workers like me."
Can't believe this news, tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala
निशब्द..— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) November 25, 2020
जिन्हें हर छोटा बड़ा, दोस्त, साथी..विरोधी भी...एक ही नाम से सम्मान देते- ‘अहमद भाई’!
वो जिन्होंने सदा निष्ठा व कर्तव्य निभाया,
वो जिन्होंने सदा पार्टी को ही परिवार माना,
वो जिन्होंने सदा राजनीतिक लकीरें मिटा दिलों पर छाप छोड़ी,
अब भी विश्वास नही..
अलविदा “अहमद जी”🙏 pic.twitter.com/NRCwHPNZLl
Patel joined Congress in 1976, eventually became the treasurer
Born on August 21, 1949, Patel had been with the Congress since 1976, gradually rising up the ranks to become the treasurer of the party. He has represented Gujarat in the Parliament eight times — three times in the Lok Sabha and five times in the Rajya Sabha. He started his political career by contesting local body polls from Bharuch district, Gujarat, in 1976.
He served as Sonia's political secretary for years
Patel finished the Jawahar Bhavan project, which was stalled for nearly a decade, in merely one year after late PM Rajiv Gandhi gave him the responsibility. He also served as current Congress President Sonia Gandhi's political secretary for years. Despite being a known face, Patel chose to never join the government, and worked from behind the scenes, advising Sonia on pertinent matters.
Patel won Rajya Sabha polls after bitter contest
In 2017, Patel was elected to Rajya Sabha for the fifth time after a bitter contest. A former Congress member, Balwantsinh Rajput, challenged Patel's nomination, but the latter won. This event was unprecedented as Rajya Sabha seats don't witness the same kind of contest as Lok Sabha ones. Later, Patel admitted that he had never seen "such a tense and bitter election battle."
This year, Congress lost veterans like Pranab Da, Tarun Gogoi
Patel's demise comes in a year when Congress has lost several veterans. Pranab Mukherjee, the former President, passed away on August 31. On Monday, former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi breathed his last. Both Mukherjee and Gogoi had tested positive for coronavirus.