Home / Politics / News /  Ram Vilas Paswan, union minister, passes away at 74

Ram Vilas Paswan, Union minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, passed away late on Thursday. He recently underwent heart surgery in a Delhi hospital. Informing about his father's death, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan tweeted on Thursday: "Papa .... Now you are not in this world but I know you are always with me wherever you are. Miss you Papa ..." The veteran leader has been hospitalised for the last few weeks. He has long suffered from a heart condition, according to reports.

During his over five-decade long career, Paswan has served as a Union minister under several prime ministers and his party has been a member of all national coalitions. An eighth time Member of Parliament in Lok Sabha, Paswan was one of the country's most noted Dalit leaders. He was born on 5 July, 1946 at Shaharbanni village in Khagaria, eastern Bihar. He completed a master’s and a law degree, passed the Bihar civil service examination, and was selected to be a deputy superintendent of police. But he did not accept the job. Instead, he joined politics.

He began his political career as a member of Samyukta Socialist Party (SSP). Paswan became a member of Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1969. Next year, he was made the joint secretary of the SSP’s Bihar branch. In 1974, he became the general secretary of the Bihar branch of the new Lok Dal (People’s Party) after it had been formed through the merger of the SSP and other parties.

Paswan went to jail during Indira Gandhi's tenure when emergency was imposed in the country in 1975. He was released in 1977. During the same year, he was elected to Lok Sabha for the first time as Janata Party member. He held the world record for winning the election by highest margin. Veteran leader was re-elected five consecutive times from Hajipur constituency in Bihar.

Veteran politician formed Lok Janshakti Party in 2000. Within one year of the formation of his party, he became a minister in the first National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government under former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. After NDA lost power in 2004, Paswan joined Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in 2004 and again became a union minister till 2014.

From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav — many leaders offered their condolences to the Paswan family. "Working together, shoulder to shoulder with Paswan Ji has been an incredible experience. His interventions during Cabinet Meetings were insightful. From political wisdom, statesmanship to governance issues, he was brilliant. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti," PM Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter.

“In the demise of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, the nation has lost a visionary leader. He was among the most active and longest-serving members of parliament. He was the voice of the oppressed and championed the cause of the marginalized," President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted on Thursday evening.

“In the demise of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, the nation has lost a visionary leader. He was among the most active and longest-serving members of parliament. He was the voice of the oppressed, and championed the cause of the marginalized," tweeted President Ram Nath Kovind.

“A firebrand socialist in youth, mentored by the likes of Jayaprakash Narayan during anti-Emergency movement, Paswan ji had enviable rapport with masses and he ardently strove for their welfare. Condolences to his family and supporters," read the President’s second tweet.

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