Lost 'most reliable' friend: Digvijaya on Ahmed Patel's death

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(Eds: Adding reax of MP CM, Kamal Nath and Scindia) Bhopal, Nov 25 (PTI) Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh on Wednesday expressed deep sorrow over the death of senior party colleague Ahmed Patel, saying he has lost a 'close and most reliable friend' and remembered him as a soft-spoken and smiling person.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP MP Jyotiraditya Scindia and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath also expressed their condolences on Patel's demise.

Chouhan in a tweet said, 'Got the sad news of Patel's demise. I pray to the Almighty to give peace to the departed soul and enough strength to the family to bear this irreparable loss.' Patel, who served as the Congress's back-room strategist for years, died in a Gurugram hospital in the early hours of Wednesday. He was suffering from complications related to COVID-19.

He was one of the closest aides of party president Sonia Gandhi and her political secretary for a long time.

After getting the news of his death, Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh cancelled their scheduled visit to Khajuraho to attend a marriage function.

Singh stayed back in Delhi and Nath also rushed to the national capital cancelling all his engagements, party sources said.

'Ahmed Patel is no more. A close and most reliable friend has gone. We were together since 1977, he entered the Lok Sabha while I reached the Vidhan Sabha. For all Congressmen, he always had a medicine for all political ailments,' Digvijaya Singh said in a tweet in Hindi.

'He was a well behaved man, soft-spoken and always smiling was his trademark,' he added.

Singh further said, 'Patel had the capacity to satisfy any person howsoever angry he may be. Away from the media, but involved in all decisions of the Congress.' 'One could learn from his ability to speak bitter things in a very sweet manner. Congress party can never forget his contribution,' Singh said in another tweet.

He also described Patel 'as a very religious person'.

'Wherever he may be, he never forgot to offer namaz.

Today is Ekadashi, which is a very important day in Sanatan Dharam. May Allah give him a place in Jannat,' he said.

Nath in his condolence message said Patel was his close friend for years.

'I am shocked to know about the sad demise of my close friend for years senior Congress leader Mr. Ahmed Patel. It is a personal loss to me. His untimely death is such a loss for the Congress family that can never be fulfilled. My condolences to the family,' he tweeted.

Scindia, who quit the Congress in March this year and joined the BJP, in a message on Twitter attached a photograph of Patel along with him and expressed his deep condolences over the Congress leader's death. PTI MAS GK GK