New Delhi [India], November 25 (ANI): Leaders cutting across party lines including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Congress allies expressed grief over senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel's demise on Wednesday.
Many political leaders remembered Patel's role in strengthening the Congress party during his life. He was the most trusted loyalist of the Gandhi family in Congress politics who worked with three generations of Gandhis.
In a tweet, the Prime Minister said that he has spoken to Patel's son Faisal and expressed condolences.
"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.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said a pillar of Congress fell today and all workers in politics can learn loyalty from him.
"Just two days back I met Ahmed Patel's family, Chief Minister (Uddhav Thackeray) also spoke to them. We even offered to get him to Mumbai in the air ambulance," he added.
Several regional leaders and former allies of Congress including, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal also expressed grief at the passing away of Patel.
"I am saddened to hear about the passing of Ahmed Patel Ji. My deepest sympathies are with his family at this difficult time," Akhilesh tweeted.
While condoling his death, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati said that Patel has left a deep impression on Indian politics and will always be remembered.
"The death of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, a well-known in politics in the country, is sad. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. He was a simple and sociable person. He left a deep impression on Indian politics will always be remembered," Mayawati tweeted in Hindi.
Almost all the leaders mentioned about Patel's loyalty towards his party, his strong leadership and stature.
Prabhat Jha, a former MP and ex-Vice President of BJP paid tribute to Patel saying, when it came to addressing the internal party issues, he was the strongest pillar of Congress. Since the time of Indira Gandhi, he has been a trusted associate of the Gandhi family. He was also the Parliamentary Secretary to Rajiv Gandhi and later became the political advisor to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
"It is true that Ahmed Patel was not a leader of the masses but a diligent Congress worker, the role which he duly accepted. He once himself said--I am not the leader of masses, I am a Congress worker," Jha added.
Among other leaders, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also condoled Ahmed demise.
"Saddened to hear about the demise of veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel Ji. My sincere condolences to the departed soul. I pray for strength to his family members and supporters in this moment of grief. Om Shanti," Gadkari tweeted.
In a condolence message on Twitter, Chouhan said: "The news of the demise of Ahmed Patel is saddening. May the departed soul rest in peace and may God give strength to his family to bear this loss."
Meanwhile, BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also expressed grief over the death of Patel.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda condoled the demise of veteran Congress leader Patel.
"The news of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel is extremely saddening. Ahmed Patel's contribution to the Congress party and public life was immense. In this hour of grief, I convey my deep condolences to his family and supporters. May God give peace to the departed soul," he tweeted (roughly translated from Hindi).
BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda also condoled the demise of Patel in a tweet: "Deeply anguished to hear about the demise of veteran Congress leader Shri Ahmed Patel Ji. I pray for strength to the family members and his supporters at this hour of grief. Om Shanti."
President Ram Nath Kovind called Ahmed "an astute Parliamentarian." "Distressed to know that veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel is no more. An astute Parliamentarian, Shri Patel combined the skills of a strategist and the charm of a mass leader. His amiability won him, friends, across party lines. My condolences to his family and friends," Kovind tweeted.
Patel, who was undergoing treatment at a Gurugram hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, breathed his last after multi-organ failure in the wee hours of Wednesday, his son Faisal confirmed.
He was elected as a local body councillor in 1976 in Bharuch Municipal body of Gujarat at the age of 25 years and became the political secretary of Sonia Gandhi and remained a bridge during UPA-I tenure between the party and the government.
When many big players of Congress lost elections, a young youth Congress leader won the election and became a Member of Parliament. This not only gave him a chance to be in the national politics but he was also spotted by Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi.
He was the leader who communicated with allies in the UPA. His last big battle which he won was his own Rajya Sabha Election in 2017. He replaced Moti Lal Vohra as treasurer of All India Congress Committee. (ANI)