Ajit Singh Image Credit: Agency

New Delhi: Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) President and former Union minister Ajit Singh passed away on Thursday due to COVID-19, confirmed his son Jayant Chaudhary. He was 82.

Singh, a prominent leader in western Uttar Pradesh, was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Delhi after he tested positive for the coronavirus on April 20.

"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 on May 6," Jayant, the RLD Vice President, said in a tweet.

Jayant also shared a note on Twitter on behalf of the family members which read: "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. "As our nation confronts the horrific pandemic, it is our humble request to all those who wish to pay their respects, to please stay at home as far as possible.

"We must observe all safety protocols to keep ourselves and everyone around us healthy and safe. This would be the best way to honour Chaudhary Sahib as well as all those COVID warriors who are working night and day to protect us. We pray for solace for all those families that have been ravaged by this brutal disease," the note added.

Singh, a seven-time MP from Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat, was the son of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh. He founded the RLD in 1996.

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday condoled the demise of former union minister and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh. 

"Saddened by the news of the demise of RJD chief and former Union Minister Chaudhary Ajit Singh. He always raised his voice in the interest of the farmers. As a public representative and minister, he left a different impression on the politics of the country. My condolences to his family and well-wishers," the President tweeted.

Prime Minister Modi, while expressing grief on the demise of the former union minister, said that Singh was always devoted to the interests of the farmers.

"Deeply saddened by the passing away of former Union Minister Chaudhary Ajit Singh ji. He was always devoted to the interests of the farmers. He efficiently discharged the responsibilities of several departments at the Centre. My condolences to his family in this hour of mourning," the Prime Minister tweeted.

Singh was a seven-time MP from Baghpat and served as union minister for civil aviation, agriculture, and food processing industries in different governments.

Ajit Singh, an alum of IIT Kharagpur and the Illinois Institute of Technology,. Son of former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, he quit the computer industry to return to India and join politics. Singh became a Rajya Sabha member in 1986.

Many political leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Omar Abdullah, Mayawati and others, have also expressed their condolences.