Former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, under whose stewardship of the rural development ministry the ambitious NREGA was launched by the Manmohan Singh government, died at AIIMS in the national capital where he was admitted for treatment of post-COVID complications. After his demise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind expressed their condolences.
"Raghuvansh Prasad Singh is no more among us. His demise has left a void in the political sphere of Bihar as well as the country," Modi said.
President Kovind said in a tweet - "The passing away of Raghuvansh Prasad Singh is tragic. An outstanding leader rooted to ground, Raghuvansh Babu was a true stalwart with phenomenal understanding of rural India. With his spartan and sagely lifestyle, he enriched public life. Condolences to his family and followers."
Singh, a socialist stalwart, was 74, and his survived by two sons and a daughter. He had fallen critically ill on Friday night and was put on ventilator in the ICU.
Singh became breathless and developed other complications before breathing his last at 11 am, Kedar Yadav, a close associate of Singh told PTI.
Following his demise, RJD issued a statement saying he was a stalwart of the RJD and had a great impact on common people. People assembled around him every time he was on the stage delivering a speech. "Raghuvansh Babu Amar Rahe", added RJD in a statement.
Lalu Prasad's elder son and former Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav said, "He is omnipotent despite not being with us. I am deeply shattered by the demise of Raghuvansh Prasad ji. May his soul rest in peace. He was like a parent to us."
Lalu Prasad's eldest daughter Misa Bharti said, "I offer deep condolences on the demise of Raghuvansh uncle. We are feeling like orphaned children and so is every member of RJD. Whenever we felt low, your compelling and strong voice boosted our morale. Your demise is disheartening for every member of RJD."
Lalu's younger son Tejashwi Yadav said, "You were a great 'Samajwadi' leader, strong pillar and a visionary leader of RJD and the voice of poor. Your loss cannot be fulfilled. You are like a parent to us. We are deeply shattered by your demise. I am feeling alone now."
"I spoke to Raghuvansh Babu a few days ago and he said he would soon recover from the illness and start a strong fight. After my father went to jail, people like you have given energy and inspiration," Tejashwi added.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav also tweeted, "Our beloved Raghuvansh Babu, what have you done? I had spoken to you day before yesterday and you said that you are not going anywhere. But you have gone far away from us. I am speechless and extremely sad."
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in his tweet said, "It is extremely sad to hear about the demise of former Union minister and leader Dr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh. May his soul rest in peace."
Following the demise of Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, RJD has decided to observe a seven-day mourning in the party. Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav said the party flag will be flown at half-mast across the state for seven days.
Sharad Yadav, another political stalwart of Bihar, in his condolence message said, "Raghuvansh Babu was my closest friend during my political career. He was a great 'Samajwadi' leader and voice of poor people. He was recognised as a complete leader of the nation. I pay deep condolences to his family for the sudden loss."
Mukesh Sahni, President of Vikashsheel Insan Party (VIP) also expressed heartfelt condolences to his family. He said, "Raghuvansh Babu was a leader known for assembling all alliance parties in the Mahagathbandhan. He was a political guide to us as well as to other young leaders of Bihar."
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)