Ram Vilas Paswan, Union minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution passed away late on Thursday, son Chirag Paswan said. He recently underwent heart surgery in a Delhi hospital.
Paswan, one of the country’s most noted Dalit leaders, has been hospitalised 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 …”
Paswan was born on 5 July in 1946 in a village near 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. Instead of accepting the job, he joined politics. Paswan first ran successfully for public office in 1969, when he was elected to a seat in the Bihar state legislative assembly.
An eight time Member of Parliament in Lok Sabha, Paswan went to jail during Indira Gandhi’s tenure when emergency was imposed in the country. He began his political career as a member of Samyukta Socialist Party and in 1969 became a member of Bihar Legislative Assembly. Paswan was elected to Lok Sabha for the first time in 1977 as Janata Party member and for re-elected five consecutive times from Hajipur constituency in Bihar. He formed LJP in 2000 and joined Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2004. Ram Vilas Paswan has served as a Union Minister under five prime ministers and his party has been a member of all national coalitions. He hails from Shaharbanni Village in Khagaria District of Bihar and his son Chirag Paswan has also joined active politics.
After Ram Vilas Paswan’s operation, Chirag Paswan earlier said, “For the last many days dad is getting treated in a hospital. Due to some sudden developments on Saturday evening, an operation of his heart had to be conducted in the late night. If the need arises, then possibly after a few weeks another operation might be conducted. Thanks to all for standing by me and my family in this hour of struggle.”
“I am happy that my son Chirag is with me at this time and is doing all possible service. Along with taking care of me, he us also fulfilling his responsibilities towards the party,” Ram Vilas Paswan wrote on Twitter earlier.
The LJP has been threatening to walk out of the NDA in Bihar NDA to protest against Nitish Kumar’s projection as the alliance’s face in Bihar polls.