Rajya Sabha member & senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel passes away at 71

RSTV Bureau
File photo of Congress MP Ahmed Patel in Rajya Sabha.

File photo of Congress MP Ahmed Patel in Rajya Sabha.

Sitting Rajya Sabha member and senior Congress leader and the party’s top strategist Ahmed Patel passed away in a Gurugram hospital on Wednesday due to multi-organ failure early on Wednesday morning. 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.

He was an eight-time parliamentarian — five times in the Rajya Sabha, three times in the Lok Sabha. His last elected to Rajya Sabha in 2017. He was also presently holding the position of Congress treasurer, a post that he occupied thrice.

“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,” Patel’s son said in a tweet.

He also urged all well-wishers to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations by avoiding mass gatherings.

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 tricky situations many a time. He was the grand old party’s pointsman for building consensus on key issues with other parties and leaders.

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.

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.

“Distressed to know that veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel is no more. An astute Parliamentarian, Shri Patel combined the skills of a strategist and the charm of a mass leader. His amiability won him friends across party lines. My condolences to his family and friends,” tweeted the President.

“Deeply saddened to learn about the passing away of Rajya Sabha MP, Shri Ahmed Patel. He was an able parliamentarian and always maintained cordial relations with leaders across the political spectrum. My condolences to the bereaved family members. May his soul rest in peace,” tweeted the Vice President.

“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.”

“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. My love and condolences to Faisal, Mumtaz and the family,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.

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.

(With inputs from PTI)