Expressing condolences over the demise of former Union minister Ajit Singh, PM Modi on Thursday highlighted the RLD chief’s devotion to farmers. Remembering his long tenure in the Centre, the PM said that the 6-time MP had discharged his duties efficiently.
The 86-year-old RLD supremo passed away at a Gurugram hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Ajit Singh passes away
In a statement, Singh’s family revealed that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus on April 20. Moreover, it appealed to all those who wish to pay their respects to stay at home as far as possible owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the kin, observing safety protocols will be the best way to honour the former Baghpat MP.
About Ajit Singh
Considered one of the tallest farmer leaders in the country, Ajit Singh was born on February 12, 1939. Having studied at the Lucknow University, IIT Kharagpur and Illinois Institute of Technology, he worked as a software engineer in the US for 17 years. He first entered Parliament as a Rajya Sabha member in 1986 and led his own faction of Lok Dal (Ajit) in 1987. Elected as the Secretary-General of Janata Dal in 1989, he won the Baghpat seat in the Lok Sabha polls held the same year. Subsequently, he was the Industry Minister in the National Front government from December 1989 to November 1990.
After winning from Baghpat again in 1991, he was appointed as the Minister of Food Processing Industries in the Congress government from 1995 to 1996. He founded the Rashtriya Janata Dal in 1996. While Singh lost in 1998, he was re-elected from Baghpat in 1999, 2004, and 2009. When RLD was a part of NDA, he served as the Union Agriculture Minister from July 2001 to May 2003. His last Ministerial assignment was during UPA when he was appointed as the Civil Aviation Minister from December 2011 to May 2014.
The 86-year-old leader is credited for instituting credit-linked subsidy scheme for augmenting cold storage capacity, which enabled a much-needed flow of private investment into the industry. Believing in a model of growth geared towards rural development, he pushed for increased investment in the rural economy.
Moreover, he tried to introduce measures to propagate sustainable technologies for improving agricultural productivity for farmers. The RLD supremo is also known for spearheading the movement against land acquisition laws and the agitation by sugarcane farmers against the Fair and Remunerative Price amendment to the Essential Commodities Act. He was also serving as the chairman of the Kisan Trust founded by the late Chaudhary Charan Singh. He also opposed the recently enacted three farm laws.