Ex-minister Ajit Singh loses battle against Covid

COVID-19 Event Governance

Demise likely to impact politics of western UP.

Veteran farmer leader and former Union minister Ajit Singh passed away this morning due to Covid-19 complications in a private hospital in Gurugram. 

His son Jayant Singh said in a tweet that his father, who tested positive on April 20 and was on ventilator support in the ICU of a private hospital in Gurugram, “…breathed his last today morning, the 6th of May, 2021.” 

“Throughout his life journey, Chaudhary Sahib was loved and respected by many. He, in return, cherished this bond with all of you and has his best consideration and efforts for your welfare,” the tweet said.

Jayant Singh appealed to people to stay home and abide by the Covid-19 protocol issued by the government. “This would be the best way to honour Chaudhary Sahib as well as all those COVID warriors who are working night and day to protect us.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted he was saddened by the death of Ajit Singh. 

During the ongoing farmers’ protest, Ajit Singh had extended his support to Rakesh and Naresh Tikait of the Bharatiya Kisan Union. 

His demise is likely to stir up western Uttar Pradesh’s politics. The state is going to polls next year. 

Ajeet Singh, a journalist who has been closely looking at the politics in the state, said: “In the party he represented, RLD, he was the only big face. His son, who has been a member of Parliament, has lost elections two times. So it will be difficult for the party to get a replacement. This might weaken its position.”

“Ch. Ajit Singh was one of the loudest yet most humble voices in the farmers’ agitation. His support to the Tikait brothers and the local-level support that RLD gathered can also be affected due to this. All of these factors combined leaves questions looming over the party’s standing in the upcoming polls. If Jayant will be able to fill father’s shoes remains a question.”

Ajit Singh was the son of Charan Singh, India’s sixth Prime Minister. His father, a major farmer leader, and had left his legacy to his son. Ajit held important positions in the Union government. 

He was first elected to the Upper House of the Parliament in 1986 and led the Janata Dal coalition as its General Secretary under V.P. Singh in 1989. The Janata Dal got a massive support from UP as Ajit Singh pulled in Jat and the farmer votes. 

In the V.P. Singh cabinet, he was appointed Minister of Industry. After being re-elected to the Lok Sabha, he served as the Minister of Food in the Narasimha Rao cabinet.

In 1996, Ajit Singh founded the Rashtriya Lok Dal. He continued contesting elections from his father’s constituency, Baghpat. He was the longest serving MP from the constituency, winning six times. 

In the Vajpayee ministry, he was given the agriculture portfolio. Later, he joined hands with the Congress and served as Minister of Civil Aviation in the United Progressive Alliance government till 2014. 

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