Veteran Bihar politician Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, who had recently quit the Lalu Prasad-led RJD triggering speculations ahead of the assembly elections in Bihar, died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi on Sunday (September 13). He was 74.
Singh, a former Union Minister, has been admitted at AIIMS, Delhi for about a week after developing post-COVID complications. A day earlier, his health condition was reported to have deteriorated considerably and he was put on ventilator support.
President Ram Nath Kovind and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav expressed grief over his death.
प्रिय रघुवंश बाबू! ये आपने क्या किया?
मैनें परसों ही आपसे कहा था आप कहीं नहीं जा रहे है। लेकिन आप इतनी दूर चले गए।
नि:शब्द हूँ। दुःखी हूँ। बहुत याद आएँगे।
— Lalu Prasad Yadav (@laluprasadrjd) September 13, 2020
The passing away of Raghuvansh Prasad Singh is tragic. An outstanding leader rooted to ground, Raghuvansh Babu was a true stalwart with phenomenal understanding of rural India. With his spartan and sagely lifestyle, he enriched public life. Condolences to his family & followers.
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) September 13, 2020
“The passing away of Raghuvansh Prasad Singh is tragic. An outstanding leader rooted to ground, Raghuvansh Babu was a true stalwart with phenomenal understanding of rural India. With his spartan and sagely lifestyle, he enriched public life,” tweeted Kovind.
A staunch loyalist of Lalu whom he supported in thick and thin, Singh ran afoul with RJD a few months ago when murmurs about mafia don-turned-politician Rama Singh, his rival in Vaishali Lok Sabha constituency, led him to resign from the post of national vice-president.
A cabinet colleague of Prasad in the Manmohan Singh government, Singh thereby stymied Rama Singh’s entry into the party and although he did not give up the primary membership at that time, he stayed away from the RJDs day to day affairs which was attributed, in part, to his ill-health.
On Thursday, his hand-written note addressed to Prasad declaring that he has had enough went viral on social media. On the same day, Lalu sent a letter to Singh from Ranchi, making an emotional appeal to his companion for over three decades not to leave the party.
On Friday, Singh wrote another letter from hospital, this time addressed to Nitish Kumar, which was seen as his attempt to cosy up to the chief minister, who heads the JD(U) and has been a fierce rival of the RJD supremo for decades.
Related news: Raghuvansh Prasad Singh quits RJD ahead of polls
Often called the architect of the MNREGA scheme, which was floated when he was the Union minister for rural development, Singh has been in political wilderness for some time, having lost the last two consecutive elections from Vaishali which he has represented in Lok Sabha a record five times.
His relations with Tejashwi Yadav, younger son and heir apparent of Lalu Prasad, turned sour when he started pitching for Nitish Kumar back to the Grand Alliance helmed by the RJD, after the party received its worst-ever drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls last year.