Gujarat's former CM Keshubhai Patel passes away

Gujarat's former CM Keshubhai Patel passes away

Patel was the first BJP chief minister in 1995 but had to resign after Shankersinh Vaghela quit the government

Former chief minister of Gujarat Keshubhai Patel. Credit: PTI Photo

Veteran politician and BJP's first chief minister in Gujarat Keshubhai Patel passed away in Ahmedabad on Thursday at the age of 92. His family told media persons that Patel was rushed to a hospital early morning after he complained of breathlessness.

About ten days back, he was tested positive for coronavirus and was admitted to a private hospital from where he was discharged after recovery. However, Patel's condition deteriorated again on Thursday morning as he complained of difficulty in breathing. He was rushed to Sterling hospital where he died during the treatment.

Patel was the first BJP chief minister in 1995 but had to resign after Shankersinh Vaghela quit the government and forced a split in the party. Three years later, Patel again swore in as chief minister but had to give way to Narendra Modi who took over the reigns as chief minister in 2001 months after the devastating earthquake.

He floated his own party in 2012 Assembly polls but merged it with the BJP in 2014.

Condoling his death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet, "Our beloved and respected Keshubhai has passed away…I am deeply pained and saddened. He was an outstanding leader who cared for every section of society. His life was devoted towards the progress of Gujarat and the empowerment of every Gujarati."

He further added that Keshubhai travelled across the length and breadth of Gujarat to strengthen the Jana Sangh and BJP. "He resisted the Emergency tooth and nail. Issues of farmer welfare were closest to his heart. Be it as MLA, MP, Minister or CM, he ensured many farmer-friendly measures were passed," he said. 

"Keshubhai mentored and groomed many younger Karyakartas including me. Everyone loved his affable nature. His demise is an irreparable loss. We are all grieving today. My thoughts are with his family and well-wishers. Spoke to his son Bharat and expressed condolences. Om Shanti," he said.