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President, PM, Sonia condole death of Ahmed Patel

Sonia Gandhi with Ahmed Patel at AICC headquarters in New Delhi. File photo   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

Tributes were paid by President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who died on Wednesday morning.

Mr. Kovind tweeted, “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.”

Mr. Modi reached out to Mr. Patel’s son Faisal Patel and family. “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,” he tweeted.

Ms. Gandhi said that in his death she had lost an “irreplaceable comrade, faithful colleague and a friend.” Mr. Patel dedicated his entire life to the Congress, she noted. In a condolence message, she said, “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. I have lost an irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend”.

Mr. Patel was Ms. Gandhi’s political secretary and close aide for many years.

Manmohan’s condolence

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who often depended on Mr. Patel to communicate with the party and Ms. Gandhi, said his knowledge of the Congress was unmatched. “In his death, the Congress party and this country, has lost a very good leader who always thought for the betterment of the poor and downtrodden people of the society”, he wrote in a letter to Mr. Patel’s wife, Memoona Ahmed.

His other long-time associate, former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, in a series of tweets, said that Mr. Patel was always ready to help. “He was secular to his core and, despite the majoritarian assault on his community, he refused to yield and fought bravely till the end to uphold the fundamental principles of our Constitution”, he said.

He was an asset: Rahul

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who often didn’t share a cordial relationship with Mr. Patel, called him an asset. “It is a sad day. Shri Ahmed Patel was 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”, he tweeted.

His sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said Mr. Patel’s death had left an immense void. “Ahmed ji was not only a wise and experienced colleague to whom I constantly turned for advice and counsel, he was a friend who stood by us all, steadfast, loyal, and dependable to the end. His passing away leaves an immense void,” she tweeted.

Left leaders pay tributes

CPI general secretary D. Raja said, “I have lost a friend. Whenever we had to rally secular parties together, our first call used to go to Mr. Patel. He enjoyed good relationship across the parties. It is not only the congress’s; it is a loss for the entire Opposition”.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said Mr. Patel’s death was a loss to Indian politics and constitutional values. “With his warm and pleasing manners he could reach out across the entire political spectrum. A big loss to Indian politics & Constitutional values”, he tweeted.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 8:19:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sonia-gandhi-condoles-ahmed-patels-death/article33174572.ece

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