Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel passes away

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel passes away

Patel had tested positive for Covid-19 on October 1

Congress leader Ahmed Patel. Credit: PTI File Photo

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel passed away on Wednesday morning after a long battle with Covid-19 at a private hospital in Gurgaon.

He was 71.

“I regret to announce the sad and untimely demise of my father, Mr Ahmed Patel at 25/11/2020, 3:30 a.m. After testing positive for Covid-19 around a month back, his health worsened further due to multiple organ failure,” Faisal Patel, the veteran leader’s son, said in a statement.

Patel had tested positive for Covid-19 on October 1 and was admitted to Metro Hospital in Faridabad. He was shifted to the ICU of the Medanta Superspeciality Hospital in Gurgaon earlier this month.

The demise of Patel, a key troubleshooter for the Congress and a trusted aide of party chief Sonia Gandhi, comes at a time when the party is facing its worst ever crisis after successive election losses.

“In Sh, Ahmed Patel, I have lost a colleague whose entire life was dedicated to the Congress party. His faithfulness and dedication, his commitment to his duty, his always being there to help, his generosity were rare qualities that distinguished him from others,” Congress President Sonia Gandhi said.

“I have lost an irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend,” she said.

“It is a sad day. Shri Ahmed Patel was a pillar of the 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,” former Congress President Rahul Gandhi said. 

 

“Ahmed ji was not only a wise and experienced colleague to whom I constantly turned for advice and counsel, 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,” Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said.

Condolences poured in from across political spectrum with Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailing him for his sharp political mind and the role in strengthening the Congress party.

“Saddened by the demise of Ahmed Patel Ji. He spent years in public life, serving society. Known for his sharp mind, his role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered,” Modi said after speaking to Patel’s son Faisal.

“For us Congressmen, he had a solution for every political problem. He was soft-spoken, tactful and ever smiling,” former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh said.

“No matter how angry a person was, he had the ability to address his issues to his satisfaction. Away from media glare, he was involved in every decision of the Congress party. One could learn from him on how to convey a bitter message in an extremely sweet manner,” Singh said.

 

Son of a social worker, Patel was handpicked by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to contest the 1977 Lok Sabha election from Bharuch in Gujarat. He won the elections as Congress faced losses nation-wide in the post-Emergency elections.

He went on to win the 1980 and 1984 Lok Sabha elections, but lost in 1989 as BJP gained strength in Gujarat.

Patel has been a five-term Rajya Sabha member, with his last election in 2017 being the toughest one, which he had pulled off in style.