Chaudhary Ajit Singh (1939-2021) was a versatile Indian who earned many feathers in his cap like the “first IITian in Indian politics, “Chhote Chaudhary, “Raajneeti ke Mausm Vaigyanik” and, the least known, a computer scientist as well. Before entering into active politics he worked in the IT sector for almost 17 years. By profession, he was a computer scientist but he inherited the blood of a politician so his venture of becoming a messiah for Indian farmers started in his late 40s itself. He paved his way by becoming General Secretary of Lok dal, a political party founded by his father Ch. Charan Singh. From here he rose to new heights. From 1989 to 2009 he became the Member of the Lower House of the Parliament at least 7 times. He held different portfolios in various cabinet ministries. He passed away on 6 May in a hospital in Gurugram due to COVID-19-related complications.
Chaudhary Ajit Singh was born on Sunday, 12 February 1939 (age 82 years; at the time of death) in Bhadola village of Meerut, United Provinces, British India (now Uttar Pradesh, India). His zodiac sign is Aquarius. After his schooling, he did B.Sc from Lucknow University. After that, he enrolled in B.Tech at IIT Kharagpur and later went to Chicago to study M.S. at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Height (approx.): 5′ 3″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Family & Caste
Ajit Singh belonged to an affluent Jat family. His clan was ‘Teotia’ and his family was politically active.
Parents and Siblings
His father Chaudhary Charan Singh was a prominent farmer leader who went on to become the 5th Prime Minister of India. Ajit’s mother Gayatri Devi was a Member of the Legislative Assembly from Iglas (1974), a constituency in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. After that, she became a Member of the Lower House of the Parliament from the Kairana constituency in 1980. Ajit was the only brother of 5 sisters, Satyavati, Vedvati, Gyanvati, Saroj and, Sharda.
Wife & Children
Ajit Singh married Radhika Bishnoi on 17 June 1967. With her, he had 3 children, two daughters, Nidhi and Deepa, and a son, Jayant Chaudhary, a former MP from the Mathura constituency (2009-2014).
He followed Hinduism.
He resided at 244/2, Shivaji Road, Meerut, 220001, Uttar Pradesh.
Ajit Singh completed his B.tech in Computer Science from IIT Kharagpur. Later on, he went abroad for further study. He did his masters in computer engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. After studying, he joined IBM as a computer scientist and became one of the first Indians to work there in the 1960s. He worked there for almost 17 years.
Ajit Singh came back to India when his father’s health was deteriorating. Lok Dal, a party founded by Ch. Charan Singh was at the edge of faction in the early 1980s. Ajit Singh returned from the USA at that time to maintain the legacy of the family in farmer politics. He put his feet in politics in 1986 when he joined Lok Dal as General Secretary. In the same year, he became a member of the Upper House of Parliament. After a prolonged illness, his father died in 1987 but before his death, he made Ajit Singh President of the party and Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna was the acting president. This arrangement couldn’t satisfy the party members and it started dwindling. Hence in 1987, Lok Dal got divided into two factions, Lok Dal (A) led by Ajit Singh and, Lok Dal (B) led by Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna. In 1988 Ajit decided to merge Lok Dal with Janta Dal and became President of the newly created Janta Party. This merger upset many party members and as a result of this Ajit faced backlash during Uttar Pradesh legislative election in 1989. Janta party won that election. VP Singh proposed to make Ajit Singh CM and Mulayam Singh Yadav deputy CM. But Mulayam rejected this. He proposed voting to decide the leader of the winning party. In voting, Mulayam Singh got 115 votes whereas Ajit got 110 votes. This margin of 5 votes hindered Ajit from becoming the CM of Uttar Pradesh. But this setback only came as a boon in his life because soon he became a member of the lower house of the parliament and VP Singh placed him in his cabinet as Minister of Industry. He served the ministry from 1989 to 1990. He raised his voice for rural people and their development. To give a spur to investment and competition he took a remarkable decision of reducing the circle distance between sugar mills from 25 km to 15 km. From 1989 to 2009 he won 6 times in general elections from the Baghpat constituency. During this period he served in cabinet as Minister of Industry, Minister of Food, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Civil Aviation respectively.
In this period, he was a significant political figure in government formation as well as in alliances. About alliances he once said,
“पहले गठबंधन नीतियों के आधार पर बनते थे, अब जाति के आधार पर बनते है। हम इन जाति, धर्म, भाषा की विविधताओं को कम करने की कोशिश नहीं कर रहे है बल्कि और बढ़ा कर अपना फायदा कर रहे है। ऐसे लोकतंत्र कामयाब नहीं हो पाता है।”
But he changed his loyalty according to the situation. He moved from BJP to Congress and, from Communist to Socialist. The only constant was his support for farmers and their causes. This kept him and his party alive in the areas of western UP. He lost only twice, first in 1998 and second in 2014, both times from a BJP candidate. After losing in 1998 he launched his new party Rashtriya Lok Dal in 1999. This decision bore fruit and he won from Baghpat seat again. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then prime minister made him cabinet minister of agriculture. He introduced credit linked subsidy scheme to multiply cold storage capacity which boosted the flow of investment.
Verbal Attack on PM Modi
Ajit Singh has been low-key most of the time in matters of controversies. His smile and amicable nature defined his identity. But in his last years of active politics, he created some headlines while taking on Narendra Modi. In 2019, he launched verbal attacks on Modi’s life.
“Ye jhoot nahi bolta… bas isne aaj tak sach nahi bola… Bacchon ko kehte hain sach bola kar, lekin iske ma baap ne nahi sikhaya… Mahilaon ka pakshdhar hai, teen talaq teen talaq… apni patni ko ek baar bhi talaq nahi bola aur chhod diya“
“Ye bhaiya itna hoshiyar aur shatir aadmi hai, agar ye Sri Lanka chala jaata na, laut ke kehta Ravan ko maine hi maara. Kyonki desh mein aur kisi ne toh kuch kiya hi nahi“
#WATCH RLD Chief Ajit Singh on PM Modi: Ye jhoot nahi bolta..bas isne aaj tak sach nahi bola.Bacchon ko kehte hain sach bola kar,lekin iske Ma baap ne nahi sikhaya.Mahilaon ka pakshdhar hai,teen talaq teen talaq..apni patni ko ek baar bhi talaq nahi bola aur chhod diya (3.4.19) pic.twitter.com/K6kDMcKcmN
— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) April 4, 2019
Assets & Properties
- Deposits in Banks, Financial Institutions, and Non-Banking financial companies: Rs 12,00,399
- Bonds, Debentures and Shares in companies: Rs 97,25,573
- Personal Loans/Advance given: Rs 42,15,615
- Agricultural land: Rs 9,06,97,666
- Residential Buildings: Rs 6,02,39,000
Note: The given estimates of movable and immovable assets are according to the year 2019.
Ajit’s net worth for the financial year 2019-2020 was estimated to be Rs 16,61,25,602.
COVID-19 claimed many people’s lives all around the world and Ajit Singh was one among them. He got admitted to the hospital on 20 Apr 2021 due to post covid complications and later on, left the world on 6 May 2021.
चौधरी साहब नहीं रहे!
— Jayant Singh (@jayantrld) May 6, 2021
- Ajit Singh drafted a bill with Amar Nath Verma (Secretary of the Ministry of Industry). This bill was drafted to curb the License Raj. But other parties of the coalition didn’t support it and it went into the bin. This was the same bill passed by Narasimha Rao in 1991 to introduce Liberalization in the Indian economy.
- He was interested in everything connected to agriculture and technology.
- Ajit’s favourite pass time was reading and music.
- Ajit Singh often enjoyed smoking Hukkah.