Keshubhai Patel, the former Chief Minister of Gujarat and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, passed away on Thursday morning at an Ahmedabad hospital.

He was 92.

Patel was rushed to the hospital on Thursday morning after he complained of difficulty in breathing where he breathed his last.

Senior party leaders, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, paid their tributes to the departed soul.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a series of tweets, said, “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.

“Keshubhai mentored and groomed many younger Karyakartas including me. Everyone loved his affable nature. His demise is an irreparable loss. We are all grieving today. My thoughts are with his family and well-wishers. Spoke to his son Bharat and expressed condolences. Om Shanti.”

A six-time MLA, Patel served as the Gujarat Chief Minister twice, in 1995 and 1998 when he was replaced by Narendra Modi as the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001.

According to the sources, the former CM had tested Covid-19 positive last month though he was asymptomatic at the time of the diagnosis.

Vijay Rupani, the current Gujarat Chief Minister said, “Respected Keshubhai Patel, our elder who raised this BJP banyan tree from Jana Sangh in Gujarat, who sacrificed his entire life for the work of the nation, who did a great job for the farmers as a farmer’s son.”

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh while expressing his condolences, said “Keshu Bhai Patel ji was an effective administrator who left an indelible mark in public life. I offer my tributes to the departed leader. In this hour of grief, I express my heartfelt condolences to his family and well-wishers. Om Shanti.

“Former Chief Minister of Gujarat, Keshu Bhai was a political stalwart who played a significant role in strengthening the BJP in the state. Deeply pained by his demise today.”