Ahmedabad: Former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel died here on Thursday after prolonged illness, family sources said.
Patel (92) had recovered from COVID-19 recently and was rushed to a hospital in Ahmedabad Thursday morning morning following health complications, the sources said.
The BJP veteran was the state chief minister in 1995 and again during 1998-2001. Narendra 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 2012 Assembly polls and merged with the BJP in 2014.
Born in Visavadar town of Junagadh district in 1928, Patel joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1945 as a pracharak. He started his political career as a worker for the Jan Sangh.
“Though he recently recovered from coronavirus, his health kept deteriorating due to post-Covid effects in the body,” said Patel’s son Bharat Patel.
“We rushed him to a hospital here after his health deteriorated today morning. Though doctors tried hard, he could not survive,” Patel told reporters.
Patel was also the chairman of the Shree Somnath Trust, which manages the famous Somnath temple in Saurashtra region.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani paid tributes to the BJP stalwart saying Patel’s death is a huge loss for the people of Gujarat.
Speaking at a rally at Ghadhada, where bypolls will be held on November 3, Rupani said, “Keshubhai Patel, the leader who made BJP big from Jan Sangh days, who dedicated his entire life for service of nation and farmers, has died today. This is a big loss to Gujarat and the BJP.”
President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted, “With the demise of Keshubhai Patel, former Gujarat chief minister, the nation has lost a stalwart leader. His long public life was dedicated to improving the lives of millions, especially in villages. As champion of farmers causes, he enjoyed extraordinary rapport with masses.”
Prime Minister Narednra Modi tweeted, “Our beloved and respected Keshubhai has passed awayI am deeply pained and saddened. He was an outstanding leader who cared for every section of society. His life was devoted towards the progress of Gujarat and the empowerment of every Gujarati.”
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