Gandhinagar: The funeral of the septuagenarian Congress veteran, Ahmed Patel, who died on Wednesday morning, will be held on Thursday at 10 am in his native village Piraman. Former All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Rahul Gandhi will be present at the funeral, along with many leading Congress leaders.
The 71-year-old Congress veteran will be laid to rest at his native village in Bharuch district. It was Patel’s wish to be buried alongside his parents’ graves at Piraman village. Patel’s mortal remains were flown to the Vadodara airport on Wednesday evening from where they were taken to Piraman village. Most of the top Gujarat Congress leaders were present at the airport to receive the remains.
To maintain social distancing due to Covid-19 guidelines, a large ground has been cleared to hold mass funeral prayers. Most Gujarat Congress members and politicians will be present at the funeral. Rahul Gandhi will arrive at Surat airport at 7:30 am. From there he will travel to Piraman.
Patel suffered from multiple organ failure according to his son Faisal, after contracting Coronavirus a month ago. He was undergoing treatment since then in the Medanta hospital in Gurugram. His son Faisal has appealed to everyone that abiding by Covid-19 guidelines they must stay at home and pray for the departed and maintain social distancing at the funeral.
Condolences poured in from the top politicians of the country, including President Ramnath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Gujarat BJP President CR Patil, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee chief Amit Chavda, leader of opposition Paresh Dhanani, Sabha member Shaktisinh Gohil and former Gujarat CM Shankersinh Vaghela, among others.
Born on August 21 in Bharuch, Ahmed Patel entered politics in 1976 when he became the Taluka (Tehsil) Panchayat member in Bharuch district. From there, his career soared and he became a Lok Sabha member when in 1977 he contested from Bharuch on a Congress ticket on the request of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Patel became the youngest parliamentarian by winning in 1977 at the age of 26. He continued to represent Bharuch in the lower house of the Parliament for three consecutive terms from 1977 to 1989.
In 1985 Patel became the parliamentary secretary to the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Patel was selected as a Rajya Sabha member by the Congress in 1995 and since then had been a member of the upper house till his death.
Perceived to be close to AICC chief Sonia Gandhi Patel was known as a troubleshooter for the Grand old party and was known as the ‘Chanakya’ at 10 Janpath. He was also the treasurer of the AICC in 2018.
Despite having the confidence of the top leadership, Patel kept a low profile. He never became a minister in any of the Congress or UPA governments.