Former Union Minister Digvijay Singh passes away in London

File photo of Digvijay Singh.
File photo of Digvijay Singh.

Former Union Minister Digvijay Singh, an independent member of the Lok Sabha from Banka in Bihar, died of brain haemorhage in a hospital in London today, his aides said here.

He was 54. He is survived by his wife and two daughters. Arrangements were being made to bring his body to Delhi by tomorrow, the aides told NetIndian.

Mr Singh, a former leader of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), had contested and won the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Banka in Bihar as an independent candidate.

Mr Singh, who was President of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) since March, 1999, had gone to London to attend a meeting related to the Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Delhi in October this year.

He suffered a heart attack there on June 10 and was admitted to the St Thomas Hospital, where he breathed his last this morning (around noon IST), the sources added.

Born on November 14, 1955, Mr Singh was educated at the Patna University, the Jawaharlal University, Delhi and the Tokyo University.

He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1990-96, during which he served as Union Deputy Minister for Finance and then Deputy Minister for External Affairs.

He was also elected to the Lok Sabha thrice, the first time in 1998. He sered as Union Minister of State for Railways from October 1999 to July 2001, Minister of State for Commerce from July 2001 to August 2001 and again as Minister of State for Railways from September 2001 to June 2002.

He served as Minister of State for External Affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government from July 2002 to May 2004.

Vice-President M Hamid Ansari expressed grief over the death of Mr Singh and said the former Union Minister had a significant record of service to the country and especially to the state of Bihar.

"He served the people with distinction during his many years in public life and always worked for the upliftment of poor and the downtrodden and earned the respect and admiration of the people for his dedication, sense of public service, innate simplicity and honesty. His services to the country shall always be remembered," he said.

In his condolence message to Mr Singh's wife, Ms Putul Kumari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the MP from Banka as a widely respected leader who worked selflessly for the country, his State and the people.

"His three terms in the Lok Sabha and two in the Rajya Sabha bear testimony to his popularity among the people of Bihar.  He excelled as a Minister in the Central Government, showing remarkable administrative acumen.  A keen sportsman, Mr Singh also served as President of the National Rifle Association and Vice President of the Indian Olympic Association. 

"Mr Digvijay Singh will be remembered for his contribution to our society and our people in a variety of ways," the Prime Minister said.

Condoling his death, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said the country had lost an eminent parliamentarian, able administrator and a farsighted political leader.

"Throughout his public life and during his various stints in key Ministries at the Centre, he was genuinely concerned about the issues relating to the masses, particularly those which affected the poor and the deprived. His contribution in different areas of national endeavor, including in the sports administration, was highly commendable," she said.

Minister of Railways Mamata Banerjee said Mr Singh was a dynamic politician who served the people with dedication and commitment. "He always worked tirelessly for the uplift of downtrodden and weaker sections of the society," she added.


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