PATNA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday paid a moving tribute to former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, saying his death has left a deep void in Bihar and national politics.
Modi described Singh, who died at AIIMS, New Delhi, after prolonged illness, as a grassroots leader with deep understanding of poverty and problems of the poor.
He also obliquely referred to "churning" that the departed leader faced in his last days, hinting at his disenchantment with his party the RJD and its leader Lalu Prasad.
"An inner 'manthan' (churning) was going on in him during his last days. He remained true to the ideology he believed in...In the recent past, he had been in news. He was obviously in a state of inner turmoil since it had no longer remained possible for him to be by the side of his old associates. Finally, he gave expression to his feelings through the letters he wrote from the hospital bed," the prime minister said.
Modi made the remarks before dedicating to the nation three petroleum projects via video conferencing in Bihar.
The prime minister recalled his interactions with Singh when the RJD leader was a Union minister and he the chief minister of Gujarat.
"I had occasions to interact with Raghuvansh babu many times. We used to take part in TV debates long back, putting forth our respective points of view. He used to represent his party while I used to represent the BJP as an office-bearer of the organisation," said the prime minister.
"I was worried about his health and often inquired about him," Modi said.
The prime minister spoke with admiration about Singh's concern for Bihar.
He referred to Singh's letter to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar days before his death where he raised the issue of development of his erstwhile Lok Sabha seat Vaishali.
"I will request Nitish Kumar to execute the development projects he wrote about in the letter. Let's together--the state and the Centre--fulfil his wishes," Modi said.