Former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel died today in an Ahmedabad hospital at the age of 92.
Mr Patel was brought to the city's Sterling Hospital in an unconscious state in the morning following a cardiac arrest, ANI reported.
"We tried to revive him but couldn't…He was declared dead at 11:55 am. He didn't die due to Corona," said Dr Akshay Kiledar of Sterling Hospital. Mr Patel had earlier tested positive for COVID-19 but recovered later.
Keshubhai Savdasbhai Patel served as Chief Minister of Gujarat for a few months in 1995 and then from March 1998 to October of 2001, succeeded by Narendra Modi. In 2012, Mr Patel quit the BJP to form the Gujarat Parivartan Party, which later merged with the BJP.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tweeting on his personal Twitter handle, expressed sadness at Mr Patel's death.
Our beloved and respected Keshubhai has passed away…I am deeply pained and saddened. He was an outstanding leader who cared for every section of society. His life was devoted towards the progress of Gujarat and the empowerment of every Gujarati. pic.twitter.com/pmahHWetIX— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 29, 2020
Keshubhai mentored and groomed many younger Karyakartas including me. Everyone loved his affable nature. His demise is an irreparable loss. We are all grieving today. My thoughts are with his family and well-wishers. Spoke to his son Bharat and expressed condolences. Om Shanti. pic.twitter.com/p9HF3D5b7y— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 29, 2020
Other senior leaders, too, condoled the veteran Gujarat politician's passing.
"With the demise of Keshubhai Patel the nation has lost a stalwart leader. His long public life was dedicated to improving the lives of millions, especially in villages. As champion of farmers' causes, he enjoyed extraordinary rapport with masses," President Ram Nath Kovind said today.
Saying he was deeply pained at the senior leader's death, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called Mr Patel a "stalwart" who had played a significant role in strengthening the BJP in Gujarat. The former Chief Minister was originally a member of the Jan Sangh, which was later disbanded to form the BJP in 1980.
The Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai, which also caters to Gujarat, Goa, and Madhya Pradesh, said Mr Patel would be remembered for "being a dedicated statesman".
Deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the former Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Keshubhai Patel Ji, who passed away today. He shall be remembered for being a dedicated statesman for the welfare of the state of Gujarat and its people ????— Israel in Mumbai (@israelinMumbai) October 29, 2020