Politicians across the country on Sunday mourned the death of veteran socialist leader and former Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.
74 years old veteran Bihar politician and ex-RJD leader Singh – who submitted his resignation letter to Lalu Prasad Yadav on Friday – died Sunday morning at AIIMS in Delhi.
Singh tested positive for COVID-19 in June, after which he was admitted to the AIIMS in Patna. He was re-admitted to AIIMS in Delhi, where he was being treated for post-COVID complications. His condition deteriorated rapidly over the past two days and he was placed on a ventilator. He died at around 11 AM after complaining of breathlessness, according to news agency PTI.
Condoling the death of close friend Singh, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad tweeted, “I told you the day before yesterday, you are not going anywhere. But you went so far. I am very sad and I will miss you.”
As a rural development minister between 2004 and 2009, Singh was one of the key persons behind the success of the UPA government’s flagship scheme, MNREGS.
Singh was a Professor and Ph.D. in mathematics and an expert in rural and agricultural landscape in India.
President Ram Nath Kovind extended his condolences to Mr. Singh’s family and followers. “The passing away of Raghuvansh Prasad Singh is tragic…an outstanding leader rooted to the ground, he was truly a stalwart with a phenomenal understanding of rural India…condolences to his family and followers,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a video conferencing event on Sunday, paid rich tributes to the veteran socialist stating that his death had created a void in national and Bihar politics and called him a leader who understood poverty and dedicated his life to stand for his ideals and principles.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar extended regret on Singh’s death. “Singh was a grassroots leader, a prominent socialist. His death is a personal loss to me and an irreparable loss for political, education and social fields,” Kumar said.
Paying his tribute to the RJD stalwart, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said with the demise of Raghuvansh Prasad, “a strong voice representing farmers and villages of India has gone.”
“His commitment and tireless efforts for the upliftment of farmers, villages and his struggles for social justice will always be remembered,” said Rahul.
BSP supremo Mayawati, NCP founder leader Sharad Pawar, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and former Prime Minister HD Devegowda condoled Singh demise.
Pawar said: “He was a true grassroot level leader, architect of MNREGA who relentlessly worked for the upliftment of rural masses.”
“The country has lost a grassroots and dedicated leader who argues with a loud voice for the poor,” Akhilesh Yadav said.
Singh represented the Vaishali constituency of Bihar and was the national vice president of the RJD. He was made the member of Bihar legislative council in 1991 and then he became the chairman of Bihar legislative council. He lost two consecutive elections in 2014 and 2019 from Vaishali which he has represented in the Lok Sabha a record five times.
National Confederation of Dalit and Adivasi Organisatons (NACDOR) said in a tweet that Singh always stood for social justice and said that NACDAOR had several opportunities to meet, petition and present the perspective on Dalits when Saingh was a Minister and when a leader in opposition.