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Former Bihar minister Narendra Singh dies at 75

Former Bihar agriculture minister and product of the JP movement, Narendra Singh died on Monday after a prolonged illness at a private hospital in Patna. He was 75.

His son Sumit Kumar is a minister in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s cabinet.

All last rite rituals of Narendra Singh will be performed with full State honours at his native place in Jamui.

A firebrand socialist leader, Mr. Singh came from the upper caste Rajput community from the Jamui and Banka region of Bihar. Mr. Singh was a contemporary of the three socialist stalwarts from the State, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, Janata Dal (United) leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the late Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan.

Mr. Singh’s son Sumit Singh, an Independent MLA from Chakai in Jamui district, is the Science and Technology minister in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s cabinet. Another son Ajay Pratap Singh was BJP MLA from Jamui from 2015-2020 but lost the polls in the 2020 Assembly elections against BJP candidate Shryeshi Singh, daughter of yet another veteran socialist leader of the region from the Rajput community, Digvijay Singh.

“He was my long time friend and was seen as a firebrand young leader during the JP movement. His death is a personal loss to me and he was also my colleague in the government,” mourned Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav too mourned the death of Mr. Singh and said, “I also used to get the affection of Narendra Singhji. He was known for his frankness in political circles.”

Mr. Singh had begun his political career as an MLA from Chakai in Jamui in the 80s and represented the constituency several times. He was also a student leader at Patna University and was popular as a fearless upper caste Rajput leader. He became close to Lalu Prasad through his university politics and later along with Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan and Mr. Prasad, he too participated in the JP movement and emerged as a veteran socialist leader of Bihar. He served as agriculture minister in Nitish Kumar’s cabinet till 2014 but later broke away from Mr. Kumar and went with former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi. “I’ve lost a dear friend, who was among the last of the socialist leaders in the State,” said Mr. Manjhi.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2022 6:31:13 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/former-bihar-minister-narendra-singh-dies-at-75/article65599278.ece