Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan 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.

The veteran leader has been hospitalized for the last few weeks. He has long suffered from a heart condition, according to reports.

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 …”

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 began his political career as a member of the Samyukta Socialist Party (SSP). Paswan became a member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1969. The 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 an 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 a Janata Party member. He held the world record for winning the election by the highest margin. The veteran leader was re-elected five consecutive times from the Hajipur constituency in Bihar.

Veteran politicians 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.

 

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