- Ahmed Patel died at a Gurgaon hospital this morning
- In a tweet at around 4 am, his son Faisal Patel said Mr Patel had died
- He was Sonia Gandhi's top aide, a troubleshooter for the party
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, one of Sonia Gandhi's closest political advisers, died at a Gurgaon hospital this morning. He was 71. The veteran politician had been at Medanta Hospital since his health worsened after a Covid infection. In a tweet at around 4 am, his son, Faisal Patel, said that the Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat died at 3.30 am
"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," he tweeted, requesting all their well-wishers to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations by avoiding mass gatherings.
"...also maintain social distancing norms at all times," Faisal Patel said in the statement.
Messages of condolences and tributes poured in soon after the announcement of Mr Patel's death.
Mourning the death of Mr Patel, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said she has lost an "irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend". "I have lost a colleague, whose entire life was dedicated to the Congress party," Mrs Gandhi said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered the seasoned politician, saying "his role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered".
"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," PM Modi tweeted.
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
Top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called Mr Patel 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," Mr Gandhi tweeted.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said Mr Patel was an experienced colleague to whom she "constantly turned for advice and counsel".
"...he was a friend who stood by us all, steadfast, loyal, and dependable to the end," she tweeted.
Mr Patel's body will be taken to his hometown in Gujarat's Bharuch where his last rites will be performed tomorrow. The body will be flown to Gujarat in a chartered flight today. His last wishes were that he be buried next to his parents in his hometown.
Ahmed Patel, also the treasurer of the Congress, had tested positive for the COVID-19 on October 1 and had been admitted to the ICU of Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon on November 15.
On October 1, Mr Patel, while disclosing that he was tested positive for coronavirus, had urged all those who came in contact with him in past few days to undergo self-isolation.
Ahmed Patel is the second senior Congress leader to have died due to Covid-related complications, as his death comes two days after former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi died in Guwahati.