LJP patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan passes away at 74; Union minister recently underwent heart surgery at Delhi hospital

The Rajya Sabha MP's death was confirmed on Twitter by his son Chirag Paswan

FP Staff October 08, 2020 21:26:37 IST
LJP patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan passes away at 74; Union minister recently underwent heart surgery at Delhi hospital

File image of Ram Vilas Paswan. PTI

Just days after undergoing heart surgery at a Delhi hospital, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan passed away at age 74 on Thursday evening.

The Lok Janshakti Party patriarch's death was confirmed on Twitter by his son Chirag, who is also the national president of the party.

Paswan, the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, recently underwent heart surgery at a Delhi hospital after being hospitalised for more than a month.

Chirag, on 3 October, had tweeted:

A stalwart of the socialist movement who later emerged as Bihar's foremost Dalit leader with following across the country, Paswan was instrumental in the implementation of the Mandal Commission report in the 1990s.

Born in Khagaria in 1946, Paswan was selected as a police official but chose the calling of politics and became an MLA for the first time in 1969 on a Samyukta Socialist Party ticket.

He was elected to Lok Sabha eight times and also held the record of winning his constituency, Hajipur, with the highest margin for several years.

Always at the forefront of raising issues concerning the disadvantaged sections of society, he was also a skilful grassroots politician who enjoyed good equations with leaders across the spectrum, and his dedicated following in his state ensured that every national party courted him in his over five decades of career.

He was a minister in Central governments headed by parties of contrasting ideological persuasions, ranging from the Janata Dal to the Congress and the BJP, since 1989.

Whoever might be his ally, he took pride in describing himself as a socialist and secular politician by conviction.

Reacting to Paswan's demise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "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," he said.

Hailing the Lok Janshakti Party patron for his rise in politics through hard work and determination, Modi said as a young leader, Paswan resisted "tyranny and the assault on our democracy during the Emergency".

"He was an outstanding parliamentarian and minister, making lasting contributions in several policy areas," Modi said.

President Ram Nath Kovind said the nation has lost a visionary leader.

Paswan was the voice of the oppressed, and championed the cause of the marginalised, Kovind said condoling his demise.

"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,” the president tweeted.

"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,” Kovind said in another tweet.

His  death comes on the same day that the LJP named 42 candidates for the Bihar Assembly polls with some BJP turncoats figuring in the list.

On Tuesday, the BJP announced no seats for the LJP even as it reiterated that Nitish would remain the NDA's face in poll-bound Bihar.

The BJP will contest 121 seats in the Bihar polls, while the JD(U) was allotted 122 seats.

On Sunday, Chirag, walking out of the NDA in Bihar while slamming Kumar's leadership, had claimed that a BJP-LJP government would come to power in after the polls.

There are total 243 seats in Bihar Assembly, elections to which will take place in three phases.

With inputs from PTI

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