Long-time Indian National Congress (INC) politician and eight-term parliamentarian Ahmed Patel died yesterday due to complications from COVID-19. He was 71 years old.
Patel, described as a “veteran” of the INC by NDTV.com, passed away at a hospital in Gurgaon. His son Faisal Patel announced the news on Twitter in a statement that read “with profound grief & sorrow, I regret to announce the sad & untimely demise of my father, Mr. Ahmed Patel…after testing positive for COVID-19 a month back, his health worsened further due to multiple organ failures.”
“May Allah grant him Jannatul firdaus, inshallah. I request all well wishers to adhere to COVID-19 law & order regulations by avoiding all mass gatherings and to also maintain social distancing norms at all times.”
Multi-organ failure is a complication that can occur in those affected by COVID-19 whose condition is severe. Research into the phenomenon is ongoing. “Further investigations are needed to detect the exact mechanisms of pathogenesis,” a study published in October noted. “Since the involvement of several organs in COVID-19 patients is important for clinicians, increasing their knowledge may help to improve the outcomes and decrease the rate of mortality and morbidity.”
At the time of his passing, Ahmed Patel represented the state of Gujarat in the Rajya Sabha. He previously represented Gujarat’s Bharuch constituency in the Lok Sabha. He also served as treasurer of the All India Congress Committee from 2018 until his death. Patel was Gujarat’s second Muslim MP. He served as parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Though he kept a low profile, Ahmed Patel did exert considerable influence. Livemint described him as “the go-to man in the Congress who kept a low profile but quietly wielded power and meticulously executed decisions of the leadership.”
Much of his influence derived from his close proximity to Sonia Gandhi, president of the INC, whom he served for a number of years as her political secretary. Ms Gandhi paid tribute, stating “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.
“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.”
Former INC leader Rahul Gandhi described Patel as “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.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Patel also. He tweeted that he was “saddened” by the news and wrote “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.”