New Delhi, Nov 25 (PTI) Senior Congress leader and the party’s top strategist Ahmed Patel died in a Gurugram hospital on Wednesday due to multi-organ failure. He was suffering from complications related to COVID-19.
Patel (71), who was critical for a few days, was admitted to the Medanta hospital in Gurugram on November 15 after he developed complications.
His son Faisal said he died at 3.30 am.
“With profound grief & sorrow, I regret to announce the sad and untimely demise of my father, Mr. Ahmed Patel at 25/11/2020, 03:30 AM. 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,” he said in a tweet.
He also urged all well-wishers to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations by avoiding mass gatherings.
“AP” to his friends and “Ahmed Bhai” to colleagues, Patel was one of the closest aides of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her political secretary for a long time.
He was the trouble-shooter of the Congress and had steered the party out of ticklish situations many a time. He was the grand old party’s pointsman for building consensus on key issues with other parties and leaders.
A soft-spoken and affable man, Patel was well respected and had friends across the aisle and in different spheres.
The veteran Congress leader had himself announced on Twitter on October 1 that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and all those who had come in close contact of him should also get tested.
Patel was currently a member of the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. He was an eight-time parliamentarian — five times in the Rajya Sabha, three times in the Lok Sabha. His last Rajya Sabha election in 2017 was contested very keenly amid charges of horse-trading.
He was currently the Congress treasurer, a post that he occupied thrice.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, besides Congress leaders, including party chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, and Union ministers condoled Patel’s demise.
“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,” the prime minister said in a tweet.
Sonia Gandhi, in her condolence message, said in Patel’s death, “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. I have lost an irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend. I mourn his passing and I feel deeply for his bereaved family to whom I offer my sincere feelings of empathy and support,” 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,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.
“We will miss him. My love and condolences to Faisal, Mumtaz and the family,” he added.
Patel began his political career by contesting the local body polls in Gujarat’s Bharuch district in 1976. He became a Lok Sabha MP in March 1977 and was a member of the sixth, seventh and eighth Lok Sabha till 1989. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha for the first time in August 1993.
Patel was a close confidant of Rajiv Gandhi and the parliamentary secretary to the prime Minister from 1985 to 1986.
He later took charge of the Congress’s organisational structure both in Gujarat and at the party high-command. Though Patel never became a minister, he always worked as the background man in the Congress and was at the centrestage of the party’s decision-making till his death.
Patel is the second senior Congressman to have died due to COVID-related complications, as his death comes two days after former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi passed away in Guwahati.
Patel leaves behind his wife, a son and a daughter.