New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Oppostion leaders from Congress party paid rich tributes to former union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh on Sunday.
PM said that Singh's death has left a deep void in Bihar and national politics. He described Singh, who died at AIIMS, New Delhi, after prolonged illness, as a grassroots leader with deep understanding of poverty and problems of the poor.
Modi made the remarks before dedicating to the nation three petroleum projects via video conferencing in Bihar. The prime minister recalled his interactions with Singh when the RJD leader was a Union minister and he the chief minister of Gujarat. He also obliquely referred to "churning" that the departed leader faced in his last days, hinting at his disenchantment with his party the RJD and its leader Lalu Prasad.
"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.
He referred to Singh's letter to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar days before his death where he raised the issue of development of his erstwhile Lok Sabha seat Vaishali.
"I will request Nitish Kumar to execute the development projects he wrote about in the letter. Let's together--the state and the Centre--fulfil his wishes," Modi said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Singh'sdedication towards the welfare of the poor and deprived classes will 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.
"His dedication to the welfare of the poor and deprived class will always be remembered. I express my condolences to his family. Om Shanti," Shah said in a tweet in Hindi
Congress said that the demise of Raghuvansh Prasad Singh as irreparable loss to Indian politics. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday paid rich tributes to former union minister saying with his demise a strong voice of the village and farmers has been lost.
The Congress also termed him as the "beloved son of Bihar" who will 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.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said his demise is an irreparable loss to Indian politics and he will be remembered for his contribution.
"The demise of Shri Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, who was a strong voice of the rural areas, farmers and social justice, is an irreparable loss to Indian politics.
Raghuvansh ji will always be remembered for his contribution. My heartfelt tribute," she said in a tweet in Hindi.
The Congress also tweeted, "An advocate of moral values in politics, a strong voice of the underprivileged has turned silent today. Your departure is the end of a chapter in the history of revolution. The Congress family pays its tributes to Bihar's beloved son Shri Raghuvansh Babu." Senior Congress leader and former union minister Jairam Ramesh said he deeply mourns the passing away of Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, the mathematician-politician from Bihar who was an outstanding Minister of Rural Development during 2004-09 at a time of UPA-1.
Ramesh said while the NAC chaired by Sonia Gandhi gave MGNREGA an initial design, thereafter it was Raghuvansh Prasad Singh who took it forward, giving it final shape and piloting it through the Union Cabinet and Parliament with great exuberance and skill.
"He also played a key role in launching new pension schemes for the aged, disabled and widows. He was a powerful speaker in Parliament who earned the respect of one and all by his transparent sincerity and integrity.
"As Minister of Rural Development myself, I worked hard to come up to his high standards he had set. I would consult him often and he would treat me with great affection. I salute his accomplishments," Ramesh said while paying tributes to Singh.
The 74-year-old Signh had in June tested positive for COVID-19 and was earlier admitted to AIIMS Patna. He was later shifted to AIIMS Delhi and he died around 11 am on Sunday due to breathlessness and other complications.
(With inputs from PTI)