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RLD chief and former Union Minister Ajit Singh passes away due to COVID-19
New Delhi, May 6, 2021
Former Union Minister and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh died due to COVID-19 at a private hospital at Gurugram near here this morning.
He was 82. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son, Jayant Chaudhary, RLD leader and former Lok Sabha member.
Singh was the son of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh.
He had been admitted to the hospital after he tested positive for COVID-19 on April 20.
"Chaudhary Sahib nahi rahe (Chaudhary Sahib is no more)," Jayant Chaudhary said in Hindi on Twitter at around 9.10 am today.
"Chaudhary Ajit singh ji was diagnosed as COVID+ on the 20th April. He battled his condition till the very end and breathed his last today morning, the 6th of May, 2021," the family said in a statement.
"Throughout his life journey, Chaudhary Sahib was loved and respected by many. He, in turn, cherished this bond with all of you and gave his best consideration and efforts for your welfare.
"As our nation confronts the horrific pandemic, it is our humble request to all those who wish to pay their respects, to please stay at home as far as possible. We must observe all safety protocols to keep ourselves and everyone around us healthy and safe. 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," the family appealed.
"We pray for solace for all those families that have been ravaged by this brutal disease," the statement added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi were among those who condoled the passing away of the former Union Minister.
Born on February 12, 1939, Ajit Singh was a B. Tech. in Computer Science from IIT, Kharagpur and then did his M.S. from the Illinois Institute of Techology. He worked for about 15 years in the computers industry, including in IBM, in the United States before returning home to India and joining politics.
He was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1986. He was the president of the Lok Dal (A) in 1987 and of the Janata Party in 1988. In 1989, he was made the General Secretary of the Janata Dal.
Singh, who represented Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh, was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989 and served as Union Industry Minister in the V P Singh government. He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 1991, 1996, 1999, 2004 and 2009.
He served as Minister of Food in the P V Narasimha government and later as the Minister of Agriculture in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Singh had joined the Congress briefly in the mid-90s and was elected on its ticket to the Lok Sabha in 1996. However, he resigned from the party later that year and founded the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha as an RLD candidate the same year. He lost the 1998 elections but was re-elected in the next three elections.
His party had joined the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in 2011 and had served as Minister of Civil Aviation in the second term of the Manmohan Singh government.