Jat leader Ajit Singh dies of Covid at 82
Ajit Singh, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president, prominent Jat and farmer leader and former Union minister, passed away at a Gurgaon hospital on Thursday morning after battling Covid-19. He was 82.
Ajit Singh’s son Jayant Chaudhary, the RLD vice-president, tweeted at 9.10am: “Chaudhary Sahib nahin rahe (Chaudhary Sahib is no more).”
चौधरी साहब नहीं रहे!— Jayant Chaudhary (@jayantrld) May 6, 2021
Jayant said Ajit Singh, the son of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, had tested positive for the coronavirus on April 20. Sources said he had suffered multi-organ failure”.
Ajit Singh’s 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.”
Charan Singh and Mahendra Singh Tikait, the founder of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, had been the foremost Jat leaders, wielding influence in western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Born on February 12, 1939, Ajit Singh studied at Lucknow University, IIT Kharagpur and the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He was a computer scientist by profession and worked for 15 years in the US.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha six times from Baghpat — twice on a Janata Dal ticket, once from the Congress-supported Bharatiya Kisan Kamgar Party and thrice from the RLD. He had also been a Rajya Sabha member once.
Ajit Singh served as Union minister in the governments helmed by V.P. Singh, P.V. Narsimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. Ajit Singh’s first ministerial assignment was the industries portfolio in 1989 in the National Front government. In 2011, he had been made civil aviation minister in the UPA government.
Ajit Singh could gel easily with any political party or government, telling his voters that it was the need of the hour.
Although he lost to the BJP from Baghpat in 1998 and 2014 and then from Muzaffarnagar in 2019, he continued to enjoy the support of the Jats, who are mostly farmers in western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled his death. “I am very saddened by the death of former central minister Chaudhary Ajit Singh. He was devoted to the wellbeing of farmers,” Modi tweeted.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The untimely death of Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh ji is a sad news. My condolence to his family and kin.”