LJP founder and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan passes away at 74

Ram Vilas Paswan passed away on Thursday. He had undergone a heart surgery recently

LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan (Photo courtesy: social media)
LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan (Photo courtesy: social media)
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NH Web Desk

Union Minister and founder of the Bihar based Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) Ram Vilas Paswan passed away on Thursday. He was unwell for sometime and had recently undergone a heart surgery in a Delhi hospital. His son Chirag Paswan informed about the sad demise on Twitter:

Ram Vilas Paswan had been in active politics for more than five decades and was one of the country's most noted Dalit leaders. He was the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in Modi led NDA government.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences, saying, “I am saddened beyond words. There is a void in our nation that will perhaps never be filled. Shri Ram Vilas Paswan Ji's demise is a personal loss. I have lost a friend, valued colleague and someone who was extremely passionate to ensure every poor person leads a life of dignity”.


Expressing condolences, President Ram Nath Kovind said, “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 Kovind also said that Paswan was a “firebrand socialist” in youth and was mentored by the likes of Jayaprakash Narayan during the anti-Emergency movement.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted: "The untimely demise of Ram Vilas Paswan Paswan is saddening. The poor downtrodden and Dalit lost a strong voice today. My condolences to his family members."

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also condoled the death of Paswan. In a tweet, she said: "Ram Vilas ji was the neighbour of my mother for years and our family shared a personal relation with him. The news of his death is saddening. My condolences are with Chiragji and the entire family. We are standing with the family in this sad hour."

A Dalit leader from Bihar, Paswan had served under several Prime Ministers in the past. He had joined NDA ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha election, and has been serving as the Union Minister of Food and Public Distribution in the Modi-led NDA government.

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. In 1970, he was made the joint secretary of the SSP’s Bihar branch. Four years later, 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.

The veteran politician formed Lok Janshakti Party in 2000. Within one year for 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.

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Published: 08 Oct 2020, 8:59 PM