By Arré Bench Nov. 25, 2020
The 71-year-old Ahmed Patel, who announced that he had contracted Covid-19 in October, became another victim of the global coronavirus pandemic. His death leaves a yawning chasm in the Congress, where he made a name for himself as one of its best troubleshooters for problems both internally and with other parties.
Last night, at 3:30 am in a Gurgaon hospital, one of the Congress party’s most stalwart loyalists breathed his last. The 71-year-old Ahmed Patel, who announced that he had contracted Covid-19 in October, became another victim of the global coronavirus pandemic. His death leaves a yawning chasm in the Congress, where he made a name for himself as one of its best troubleshooters for problems both internally and with other parties. The leader from Gujarat, who served eight terms in total in both Houses of Parliament, was known for being one of the most important decision-makers in Congress outside of the Gandhi family. Patel’s passing was announced by his son, Faisal, on Twitter, who also requested well-wishers to avoid mass gatherings and maintain social distancing norms.
— Faisal Patel (@mfaisalpatel) November 24, 2020
The loss of Patel will be keenly felt within the Congress. Ever since making his start as a first-time Lok Sabha member in 1977 under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Patel has continued to work with the top leadership in each decade. He served PM Rajiv Gandhi as a Parliamentary Secretary, and worked closely with Sonia Gandhi for many years while also being a member of the Congress Working Committee. He has played a key role in brokering many alliances for the party over the decades, with his most recent feat of statesmanship involving the formation of a new coalition in Maharashtra with a former BJP ally, Shiv Sena. The Congress’ top leadership were quick to pay tribute to Patel after his passing. Sonia Gandhi declared she had lost an “irreplaceable comrade, faithful colleague, and a good friend”, while Rahul Gandhi called Patel “a pillar of the Congress party” and “a tremendous asset”, in recognition of all that Patel had achieved for the party over the years.
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 & the family. pic.twitter.com/sZaOXOIMEX
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) November 25, 2020
Other leaders to mourn Patel’s passing included Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Randeep Singh Surjewala, and Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
Ahmed ji was not only a wise and experienced colleague to whom I constantly turned for advice and counsel, he was a friend who stood by us all, steadfast, loyal, and dependable to the end.
His passing away leaves an immense void. May his soul rest in peace.
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) November 25, 2020
जिन्हें हर छोटा बड़ा, दोस्त, साथी..विरोधी भी…एक ही नाम से सम्मान देते- ‘अहमद भाई’!
वो जिन्होंने सदा निष्ठा व कर्तव्य निभाया,
वो जिन्होंने सदा पार्टी को ही परिवार माना,
वो जिन्होंने सदा राजनीतिक लकीरें मिटा दिलों पर छाप छोड़ी,
अब भी विश्वास नही..
अलविदा “अहमद जी”🙏 pic.twitter.com/NRCwHPNZLl
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) November 25, 2020
Had talked to #AP several times initially during illness. AP wld seek my advice as a #COVID senior!During #Bihar, he said he had done several virtual meetings &I admonished him since he had just returned from faridabad hosp. I Also queried #feisal re late adm 2medanta.
— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) November 25, 2020
Even current PM Narendra Modi noted Patel’s legacy as an influential leader on the opposite side of the aisle.
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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 25, 2020
The Congress party will definitely miss Patel’s steady presence.