Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and one of the stalwarts of Indian politics, died at a Gurgaon hospital this morning. He was 71. 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.
Ahmed Patel who started his political career by contesting local body elections in Bharuch district in 1976, later grew to be Sonia Gandhi’s vanguard and one of the most powerful faces in the AICC. He is considered as the engineer in many crucial alliances and also took care of the Congress Party’s financial requirements as a treasurer.
Messages of condolences and tributes poured in from all parties soon after the announcement of Patel’s death.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who shared the political spectrum in Gujarat with Ahmed Patel remembered him as a strong congressman who strengthened the 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. Spoke to his son Faisal and expressed condolences. May Ahmed Bhai’s soul rest in peace,” PM Modi tweeted.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said she has lost an “irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend”. “I have lost a colleague, whose entire life was dedicated to the Congress party,” Mrs. Gandhi said. Ahmed Patel was one of Sonia Gandhi’s closest political advisers.
“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.
Aaditya Thackeray of Shiv Sena offered prayers to Patel and his family remembering him as an ”accommodative, open to ideas and different perspectives.”
Ahmed Patel served as the long-serving political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and according to party insiders, he preferred to remain in the organizational charges and gently turned down offers to join the government at the center by four prime ministers when the Congress was in power.
Patel has represented Gujarat seven times in Parliament–three-time as Lok Sabha member from Bharuch and four-time as a Rajya Sabha member.