Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) President Chaudhary and former union minister Ajit Singh passed away after contracting COVID-19, his son Jayant Chaudhary confirmed on Thursday. He was 82. Ajit Singh had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 20.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed condolences over the death of the former union minister. "Saddened by the death of former union minister Chaudhary Ajit Singh ji. He was always devoted to the interests of the farmers," he tweeted.
पूर्व केंद्रीय मंत्री चौधरी अजित सिंह जी के निधन से अत्यंत दुख हुआ है। वे हमेशा किसानों के हित में समर्पित रहे। उन्होंने केंद्र में कई विभागों की जिम्मेदारियों का कुशलतापूर्वक निर्वहन किया। शोक की इस घड़ी में मेरी संवेदनाएं उनके परिजनों और प्रशंसकों के साथ हैं। ओम शांति!— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 6, 2021
The RLD chief, a prominent leader in western UP, was admitted to a private hospital in Gurugram after his condition deteriorated due to a lung infection on Tuesday. Ajit Singh had tested positive for the novel coronavirus on April 20.
His son Jayant Chaudhary tweeted on Thursday, saying Ajit Singh battled his condition till the very end.
"Chaudhary Ajit Singh ji was diagnosed as Covid positive on April 20. He battled his condition till the very end and breathed his last today morning," Jayant Chaudhary tweeted.
चौधरी साहब नहीं रहे!— Jayant Chaudhary (@jayantrld) May 6, 2021
Chaudhary Ajit Singh, the son of former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, was a seven-time member of Parliament from Bhagpat, UP. He also served as civil aviation minister of the country. Ajit Singh was an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago.
He had initially worked in the computer industry in the US for over 15 years before he returned to India to inherit the political legacy of his father who served the country as the PM for six months in 1979-80. He was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1986.
Ajit Singh served in the Lok Sabha seven times. His party, RLD, has dominated politics in western UP for decades. His political career moved from Lok Dal to Congress and later alliance with the BJP and Samajwadi Party. As a politician, he was perceived as a "fair-weather" friend but he made sure to stick to the winning side.
Ajit Singh served as industry minister in the VP Singh government in 90s. He joined as the food minister in PV Narsimha Rao government; and served as the agricultural minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2001. His party's most recent alliance was with the Congress-led UPA during the UP assembly polls.