Former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh passed away Sunday morning while undergoing treatment in New Delhi. Singh, who had recently resigned from RJD, had fallen critically ill after developing post-COVID complications. Singh’s condition had deteriorated on Friday night, and he was admitted to AIIMS on Saturday with complaints of recurrent cough. The 74-year-old was later put on a ventilator.
Condoling the death of Raghuvansh, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad 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.”
A staunch loyalist of the RJD supremo whom he supported in thick and thin, Singh ran afoul with the party a few months ago when murmurs about mafia don turned politician Rama Singh, his rival in Vaishali Lok Sabha constituency, being inducted into RJD led him to resign from the post of the national vice-president.
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
On the day he quit RJD, Raghuvansh Singh had also accused the party of promoting nepotism and “feudalism”, and, without taking names, stated in the separate letter that five members of “one family” have replaced icons such as Mahatma Gandhi, B R Ambedkar, Jayaprakash Narayan, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and Karpoori Thakur in the party’s poster.
While Singh did not name either RJD or party chief Lalu Prasad, he regretted — handwritten on his official, former Lok Sabha MP letterhead – the gradual “degradation of politics” and that socialism was replaced by “dynasty, feudalism, casteism and communalism”.
On September 10, when he wrote a one-line resignation letter to RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Singh wrote two other letters – one addressed to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar about the need for development in Vaishali, the constituency he had represented in Lok Sabha on multiple occasions, and the other not addressed to anyone in particular and headlined “Rajneeti matlab buraai se ladhna, dharm matlab achchhai karna (politics meaning fighting against evil; religion means doing good)”. On the same day, the Lalu Prasad sent a letter to Singh from Ranchi, making an emotional appeal to his companion for over three decades not to leave the party.
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 two consecutive elections in 2014 and 2019 from Vaishali which he has represented in the 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.
Raghuvansh was upset with the attempts to induct his arch rival and former MP Rama Kishore Singh into the RJD. He quit as RJD national vice president about three months ago, and was reported to be upset with Lalu for not stepping in even after he had made it clear that Rama Kishore “must not be inducted into the RJD”. Raghuvansh represented the Vaishali constituency in Lok Sabha for five consecutive terms from 1996 before losing to Rama Kishore in 2014.
(With inputs from ENS, PTI)
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