From RSS Pracharak to the CM of Gujarat: Tracing the journey of Keshubhai Patel
From RSS Pracharak to the CM of Gujarat: Tracing the journey of Keshubhai Patel

Former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel passed away at the age of 92 today.

In September, the former CM had tested positive for novel coronavirus. He underwent a COVID-19 test as one of his attendants was detected with the infection.

"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.

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, of which was he was a founder member, in the 1960s.

Patel was a six-time member of Gujarat Legislative Assembly and served as the Chief Minister of Gujarat twice - from March 1995 to December 1995 and from 1998 to 2001.

In 2001, Patel resigned as the chief minister due to his failing health. He was succeeded by Narendra Modi - BJP's new face in the state - followed by the allegations of abuse of power, corruption, poor administration, as well as a fallout of BJP in by-elections.

After being a member of BJP since the 80s, Patel later resigned from the party and formed the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) to contest the 2012 Gujarat legislative assembly election. In 2012, assembly election his party won just two seats including his own seat.

In January 2014, Patel resigned from the post of president of GPP and later resigned as a member of Gujarat Legislative Assembly citing health issues. Later, GPP merged with BJP on 24 February 2014.

The veteran leader took his last breath today in Ahmedabad.

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 (sic)."

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 (sic)."

(with inputs from PTI)

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