• Wednesday, July 06, 2022

INDIA

India’s Congress party leader Ahmed Patel,71, dies of Covid-19

Ahmed Patel

By: Pramod Thomas

A senior leader of India’s Congress party died of coronavirus related complications on Wednesday(25), his family said.

Ahmed Patel, 71, a lawmaker who was party treasurer and was seen as close to the Gandhi family that leads the party, was detected with Covid-19 a month ago and died of multi-organ failure, his family said in a statement.

Patel was admitted to the Medanta hospital in Gurugram on November 15 after he developed complications related to Covid-19.

Currently a member of the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, Patel was one of the closest aides of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her political secretary for a long time.

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

Patel was well respected and had friends across the aisle and in different spheres. He 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.

“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.

“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 Indian president Ram Nath Kovind

“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.


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 former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and the parliamentary secretary to the prime minister from 1985 to 1986.

He later took charge of the Congress’ organisational structure both in Gujarat and at the party high-command.

Earlier this week, another Congress veteran, Tarun Gogoi, died of health complications after contracting the virus in the eastern state of Assam, where he was chief minister for 15 years.

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