Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday condoled the demise of former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel, saying he was an outstanding leader who cared for every section of society and that his passing away was an "irreparable loss". Patel died in Ahmedabad on Thursday after prolonged illness.
The 92-year-old had recovered from COVID-19 recently and was rushed to a hospital in the morning following health complications.
"Our beloved and respected Keshubhai has passed away…I am deeply pained and saddened," Prime Minister Modi said. Patel was an outstanding leader who cared for every section of society, he said.
Patel's life was devoted towards the progress of Gujarat and the empowerment of every Gujarati, the prime minister said. Keshubhai travelled across the length and breadth of Gujarat to strengthen the Jana Sangh and BJP, Modi said.
"He resisted the Emergency tooth and nail. Issues of farmer welfare were closest to his heart," the prime minister said in a series of tweets. Be it as an MLA, MP, Minister or CM, Patel ensured many farmer friendly measures were passed, Modi said.
"Keshubhai mentored and groomed many younger Karyakartas including me. Everyone loved his affable nature. His demise is an irreparable loss," the prime minister said. "We are all grieving today. My thoughts are with his family and well-wishers. Spoke to his son Bharat and expressed condolences. Om Shanti," he said.
Patel, a BJP veteran, was the state chief minister in 1995 and again during 1998-2001. Modi had succeeded him as Gujarat chief minister. Patel was a member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly six times. He quit the BJP in 2012 and floated the Gujarat Parivartan Party, which performed poorly in the 2012 Assembly polls and merged with the BJP in 2014.