- Ahmed Patel served as Sonia Gandhi's political secretary for years
- "His faithfulness distinguished him from others," Sonia Gandhi said
- In his tribute, Rahul Gandhi described him as a pillar of Congress party
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, mourning the death of Ahmed Patel, one of her closest aides, said she had lost an "irreplaceable comrade, faithful colleague and friend". The Congress veteran, 71, died early this morning, weeks after contracting Covid.
"In 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," wrote Sonia Gandhi.
"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."
Ahmed Patel served as Sonia Gandhi's political secretary for years and was believed to be part of every key decision she made.
The Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat was close to the Nehru-Gandhi family and also advised former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. As a Youth Congress leader, he was chosen at 28 by Indira Gandhi to contest the Lok Sabha elections in 1977 from Bharuch in Gujarat.
Ahmed Patel refused to join the government and preferred to remain behind the scenes, advising Sonia Gandhi on alliances, political strategy and party crises.
In his tribute, Rahul Gandhi described him as a pillar of the Congress party and said: "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 and the family."
Several Congress leaders expressed grief and shock.