Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, ex-Union minister who pioneered MGNREGS, passes away in Delhi
Singh, who had recently resigned from RJD, had fallen ill after developing post-COVID-19 complications
Former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh passed away on Sunday morning while undergoing treatment in New Delhi's AIIMS. He was 74 years old.
Singh, who had recently resigned from RJD, had fallen ill after developing post- COVID-19 complications. According to The Indian Express, Singh’s condition had deteriorated on Friday night, and he was admitted to AIIMS on Saturday with complaints of recurrent cough. He was later put on a ventilator.
Condoling his death, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav 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."
Singh had resigned from the primary membership of RJD on Thursday and followed it up with an open letter, a day later, addressed to the RJD supremo's arch-rival and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, triggering speculations about his future moves.
While Singh did not name either RJD or party chief Lalu Prasad, he regretted — in a handwritten note on his official, former Lok Sabha MP letterhead – the gradual “degradation of politics” and that socialism was replaced by “dynasty, feudalism, casteism, and communalism”, reports The Indian Express.
Hours later, Yadav sought rapprochement. "I, my family, and the RJD family that have nursed the party want you to get well soon and be among us," Prasad wrote back.
Singh was one of the founding members of the RJD. He was also the Union Minister for Rural Development in the Congress-led UPA-I government.
Singh, a five-time former MP from Vaishali who held several portfolios in the Manmohan Singh government, including that of rural development, was reportedly unhappy over the proposed induction of alleged mafia don and former Lok Janshakti Party MP from Vaishali Rama Singh into the RJD.
Rama Singh had defeated the RJD leader in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, breaking his winning streak since he was first elected from there in 1996.
According to NDTV, Singh was widely regarded as an expert in the rural and agricultural landscape of the country and is credited with the conceptualisation and implementation of the NREGA (National Rural Guarantee Employment) Act.
During his tenure as the Union minister of rural development in the UPA-1, he had piloted the NREGA scheme. Singh had also recently urged the Nitish Kumar to bring an amendment through an ordinance into the Act in order to provide more benefits to the farmers.
He had told the Bihar chief minister that the ordinance could be brought at the earliest in order to avoid the model code of conduct which will come into force once the schedule is announced for the Bihar Assembly polls.
With inputs from PTI