‘Grassroots leader with deep understanding of poverty’: PM Modi pays tribute to Raghuvansh Prasad Singh

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: September 13, 2020 4:42:40 pm

Raghuvansh Prasad Singh

Former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, whose recent resignation from the RJD had raised eyebrows in poll-bound Bihar, passed away Sunday morning while undergoing treatment in New Delhi. Singh’s condition had deteriorated on Friday night after he was admitted to AIIMS on Saturday with complaints of recurrent cough. The 74-year-old was later put on a ventilator.

Following his demise, tributes poured in from politicians across the country, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying Singh’s death had left a deep void in Bihar and national politics. PM Modi described Singh as a grassroots leader with a deep understanding of poverty and the problems of the poor. He also obliquely referred to “churning” that Singh faced in his last days, hinting at his disenchantment with RJD and its leader Lalu Prasad Yadav.

PM made the remarks while dedicating to the nation three petroleum sector projects worth about Rs 900 crore via video conferencing.

“An inner ‘manthan’ (churning) was going on in him during his last days. He remained true to the ideology he believed in..In the recent past, he had been in news. He was obviously in a state of inner turmoil since it had no longer remained possible for him to be by the side of his old associates. Finally, he gave expression to his feelings through the letters he wrote from the hospital bed,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister recalled his interactions with Singh when the RJD leader was a Union minister and he the chief minister of Gujarat. “I had occasions to interact with Raghuvansh babu many times. We used to take part in TV debates long back, putting forth our respective points of view. He used to represent his party while I used to represent the BJP as an office-bearer of the organisation,” PM Modi said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said Raghuvansh Prasad Singh’s dedication towards the welfare of the poor and deprived classes would be remembered forever.

“I am deeply saddened by the death of senior Bihar politician Raghuvansh Babu. His entire life was devoted to the ideas of Lohia ji and Karpoori Thakur ji,” Shah said in a tweet in Hindi.

President Ram Nath Kovind, in his condolence message, said that Singh was an “outstanding leader rooted to ground” and had phenomenal understanding of rural India.

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.”

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said Singh would always be remembered for his role in implementing the rural employment guarantee scheme. “Saddened to learn about the sudden demise of former Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh. A good parliamentarian and a grassroot level leader, he strove for the upliftment of the poor and rural masses,” the Vice President’s Secretariat tweeted quoting Naidu.

He said Singh would always be remembered for his role in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). “My heartfelt condolences to bereaved family members. Om Shanti,” Naidu said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said with the demise of Singh, a strong voice of the village and farmers had been lost.

The Congress also termed him as the “beloved son of Bihar” who would be remembered for being the advocate of moral values in politics, and said his demise heralds the end of a chapter in the history of revolution.

“With the demise of Shri Raghuvansh Prasad Singh ji, a strong voice of the village and farmers has been lost forever. His service and dedication for the upliftment of villages and farmers and his struggle for social justice will always be remembered. My heartfelt tributes to him,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

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