Former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel passed away on Thursday after prolonged illness. He was 92. The politician was rushed to Sterling Hospital in Ahmedabad after he complained of chest pain. He passed away following a cardiac arrest. Keshubhai Patel was diagnosed with Covid-19 in September.
"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.
Keshubhai Patel served as the CM of Gujarat in 1995 and from 1998 to 2001. A member of Gujarat Legislative Assembly for six times, Patel quit the BJP in 2012 and floated his own political party -- Gujarat Parivartan Party. The party performed poorly in 2012 Gujarat assembly elections. It was expanded with the merging of the Mahagujarat Janata Party. Later, it was merged back with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in February 2014.
Patel was elected from Visavadar assembly seat in 2012 but later resigned in 2014 due to ill health.
Keshubhai Patel was born in Visavadar town of Junagadh district in 1928. He joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1945 as a pracharak. He started his political career as a worker for the Jan Sangh, of which was he was a founder member, in 1960s. He was imprisoned during the emergency.
Keshubhai Patel was also the chairman of the Shree Somnath Trust, which manages the famous Somnath temple in Saurashtra region.
He married Leela Patel and has five sons and a daughter. His son, Bharat Patel, is a BJP politician. His wife died in 2006. In 2017, Patel's 60-year-old son, Pravin, died of cardiac arrest in the US.
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."
हम सभी के प्रिय, श्रद्धेय केशुभाई पटेल जी के निधन से मैं दुखी हूं, स्तब्ध हूं। https://t.co/kWCDdWmyOR— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 29, 2020
Union Home Minister Amit Shah also condoled the death of Keshubhai Patel and said his long public life was devoted to the service of the people of the state. “I have received the sad news of the death of former Chief Minister of Gujarat Keshubhai Patel. His long public life was devoted to the service of the people of Gujarat. With the death of Keshubhai, a void has been created in the politics of Gujarat which is not going to be filled easily. My condolences to his family,” Shah tweeted in Hindi.
The home minister said Patel, while in the BJP, played an important role in strengthening the party in Gujarat and as a trustee of the Somnath Temple, he always supported the development of the temple. Shah added that Patel will always remain in people's memory for his work and behaviour.