A life-long Congressman, Ahmed Patel was very close to Sonia Gandhi and was her political advisor for a very long time.
Ahmed Patel was one of the closest aides of party president Sonia Gandhi and was her political adviser. (File Photo)
Ahmed Patel, top strategist of the Congress party and close confidante of Sonia Gandhi, passed away at a Gurugram hospital on Wednesday. Patel, 71, was suffering from complications related to Covid and was critical for a few days. He was admitted to the Medanta hospital in Gurugram on November 15. Early this morning, Patel’s son Faisal in a statement informed that his father had died at 3.30 am.
A life-long Congressman, Patel was very close to Sonia Gandhi and was her political advisor for a very long time. Soon after the news broke, the Congress president mourned the passing away of Ahmed Patel and said that she had lost an “irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend”.
“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. 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 in a statement.
Ahmed Patel, who always maintained a low profile, was the chief trouble-shooter of the Congress and had steered the party out of difficult situations many a time. He had himself announced on Twitter on October 1 that he had tested positive for Covid. Patel was an eight-time parliamentarian — five times in the Rajya Sabha and three times in the Lok Sabha.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh remembered Ahmed Patel’s long journey in the Congress and said his knowledge of the affairs of the party was unmatched. Manmohan Singh said that Ahmed Patel served the Congress party as its treasurer for a long time and his popularity among the masses was evident from the fact that he got elected as Member of Lok Sabha for three times and also got elected for five times to the Rajya Sabha.
“With his hard work, Shri Patel who started his political career by contesting local body elections in the Bharuch District of Gujarat had grown to become an undisputed leader in the Congress party. His knowledge of the affairs of the Congress party was unmatched,” Manmohan Singh said in a letter addressed to Patel’s wife Memoona Ahmed.
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said that was saddened by the passing of Ahmed Patel. “We have lost a leader who dedicated his life to the Congress party. Ahmed Ji epitomized courage and loyalty in public life. He stood by the Congress party through its most difficult times. I will miss his wisdom, his intellect and his unwavering commitment to the Congress party. He will continue to guide us and inspire every Congress worker to carry forward our mission.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah expressed their condolences to the family of Ahmed Patel. In a tweet, the Prime Minister said: “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.”
Following the demise of Ahmed Patel, the Congress has asked all state units to hoist the party flag at half-mast for the next three days and observe condolence meetings today at state and district headquarters. The death of Patel comes at a time when Sonia Gandhi is facing demands from some of the senior party leaders to introduce structural changes and hold elections to the highest decision making body to revive the party in states and as well as in Centre. Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kapil Sibal have been vocal about it and demanding elections be held for various posts in the party.
On the passing away of Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad said that he had lost a brother, friend and colleague. “He was a strong pillar for the Congress Party. His passing away is an irreparable loss for the party,” Azad said. Kapil Sibal said that Patel was a kind, generous and thoughtful man. “He kept the Congress Party together in difficult times. He never demanded a post or a ministry. The commitment he had towards the party cannot be seen in anyone else,” Sibal said.
Ahmed Patel’s last rites will be performed in Gujarat’s Bharuch.