Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel dies after COVID-19 complications
- Ahmed Patel tested positive for COVID-19 on October 1
- His health worsened further due to multiple organ failures
- A Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, Patel was the tresurer of the Indian National Congress
Ahmed Patel, the power behind the Congress power centre for years, is no more. He died early Wednesday at a hospital in Gurugram after testing positive for coronavirus a few weeks back. The 71-year-old Congress leader, often referred to as Ahmed bhai or AP, was the political secretary of Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat.
"With profound grief and 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," his son Faisal Ahmed tweeted, requesting all their well-wishers to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations by avoiding mass gatherings.
Patel, 71, had announced on Twitter on October 1 that he had contracted coronavirus. He was later admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Medanta Hospital, Gurugram, for further treatment, his family said on Sunday.
Mourning the death of Mr Patel, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said she has lost an "irreplaceable comrade, faithful colleague and friend".
Patel's mortal remains will be taken to his native place in Gujarat's Bharuch where his last rites will be performed.
Between 2004 and 2014 , when UPA ruled at the centre, Ahmedbhai Mohammedbhai Patel, better known as Ahmed Patel, was the main strategist, troubleshooter, coordinator and the go to man for the Congress high command. Patel, often credited with being the key strategist behind the party’s victory in the 2004 and 2009 general elections, may not have been a mass leader but, as a Congress leader put it, he was the 'leader of leaders'.
Branded as the 'mystery man' for his very low profile and unassuming personality, Patel was one of those rare politicians who did not believe in being in the limelight. In this age of soundbyte PR, he shunned attention and preferred working behind the scenes. He never accepted any government post, although from joint secretary to Parliamentary secretary to political secretary and the all-powerful treasurer, Patel had taken on many roles for the party.
The only time he was in the limelight was during the 2017 Rajya Sabha elections, otherwise thought to be a staid affair, in Gujarat when he pulled off a stunning victory. In a battle that was seen an Amit Shah versus Ahmed Patel, the Congress leader won by the skin of his teeth. He needed 44 votes to win and he got 44 when two Congress rebels' votes were held invalid for showing their ballot papers to the BJP's election agent.
The leader from Gujarat was one among a handful of current politicians who worked closely with Gandhis -- Indira Gandhi, Rajiv, Sonia and Rahul. In fact, he was seen as someone who had a good rapport with both the Congress old and the new guard and acted as a bridge between them during the times of friction between the two groups.
Patel's political journey started on a very contradictory note. He won a Lok Sabha seat from Bharuch in Gujarat in 1977, at the age of 26, when the Congress was routed elsewhere in the post-Emergency election. All the party’s top leaders, including Indira Gandhi herself, had been defeated.
In 1985, then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi appointed him his parliamentary secretary and he remained loyal to the Gandhis, working as Sonia Gandhi's political secretary and later as the party treasurer. After three terms in the Lok Sabha from Bahruch, he lost in 1990 and since 1993 he had been a member of the Upper House.
Patel is survived by wife, a son and a daughter.