Former Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel (Image courtesy: Twitter/@kishanreddybjp)
Former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel passed away on October 29 after prolonged illness. Patel, 92, had recovered from COVID-19 recently and was rushed to a hospital in Ahmedabad on October 29 following health complications, according to a report by news agency PTI.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran served as Gujarat's chief minister for a brief term in 1995 and again between 1998 and 2001. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had succeeded him as the state's chief minister.
Patel was also a six-time member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly. 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 before starting 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," PTI quoted Patel's son Bharat Patel as saying. "We rushed him to a hospital 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 saying Patel's death is a huge loss for the people of the state.
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."
"Keshubhai ji’s dogged determination for social service and commitment to Indian ethos will remain exemplary for all. My condolences to his family and friends," the president added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Our beloved and respected Keshubhai has passed away…I 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."
"Keshubhai travelled across the length and breadth of Gujarat to strengthen the Jana Sangh and BJP. He resisted the Emergency tooth and nail. Issues of farmer welfare were closest to his heart. Be it as MLA, MP, Minister or CM, he ensured many farmer friendly measures were passed," PM Modi added.
(With inputs from PTI)