A seasoned politician, Ram Vilas Paswan is credited with removing the tag of ‘political untouchability’ from Narendra Modi by being the first to rejoin the NDA which he had quit following the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Known in political circles for correctly judging which way the wind was blowing, the 67-year-old Lok Janshakti Partyleader will be a prominent Dalit face of the new government.
The only exception for Paswan was the five-year period from 2009 to 2014, when his gamble of contesting Lok Sabha polls in alliance with Lalu Prasad’s RJD and keeping Congress out did not pay off and his LJP drew a blank and he himself lost from pocket-borough Hajipur.
Starting his electoral career by winning Bihar Assembly election in 1969 as a member of Samyukta Socialist Party, he shifted to national politics soon and key important ministries under various prime ministers.
Springing a surprise by dumping RJD and Congress to join hands with BJP, Paswan won the poll this time by over 2.25 lakh votes from his traditional seat Hajipur (SC) in Bihar.
With his latest victory, Paswan will enter Lok Sabha for a record ninth time. He made a dream debut in Parliament in 1977 by a margin of 4.24 lakh votes that took him straight to the Guinness Book of World Records.
In 1989, he improved the record by winning from the same seat by 5 lakh votes.
After losing the 2009 poll from Hajipur, the LJP chief reached Rajya Sabha with the help of Lalu Prasad in 2010.
Born in a scheduled caste family on July 5, 1946 in Shaharbanni village in Bihar’s Khagaria district, Paswan took active part in anti-Emergency agitation.
An ardent follower of Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan and Raj Narayan, Paswan became general secretary of Lok Dal in 1974.
In 1975 when Emergency was proclaimed he was arrested and spent the entire duration in jail.
On being released in 1977, he became a member of Janata Party and won election to Parliament for the first time. He was subsequently elected in 1980, 1984, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2014.
In V P Singh ministry in 1989, Paswan became minister for Labour and Welfare. In 1996, he was leader of the ruling United Front in Lok Sabha as then Prime Minister I K Gujral was a member of Rajya Sabha.
This was the time that he became Railway minister.
In the NDA ministry he presided over Communications ministry but was later shifted to Coal.
In 2000 he formed the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).
During UPA-I he held portfolios of steel and chemicals and fertiliser. UPA II was the only government which did not include him as a minister from 2009 to 2014.
Paswan is perhaps the only leader to serve as a Union Minister under six different Prime Ministers – Vishwanath Pratap Singh, H D Devegowda, I K Gujaral, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi. His actor-turned-politician son Chirag, who has made his debut from Jamui (SC) seat, is said to be the man who pushed his father towards BJP in the current polls, enabling LJP to bag six of the seven seats it had contested in Bihar.
(With inputs from PTI)
The situation of pulses is now under control and their month-on-month prices have gone down, he told reporters in Bengaluru.
When 100 per cent foodgrain is lifted for distribution at subsidised rates, how can a person die of hunger, Paswan asked.
Though the minister in the NDA government batted for caste-based reservation in the private sector, he criticised Bihar for giving top priority to caste.
Ram Vilas Paswan had said situation in state warranted central rule.
This problem has been arising for a few years. This year I asked some people whether they got my card. Many said they didn’t,” Paswan told reporters.
Paswan attacked Nitish Kumar government over the murder of an assistant sub-inspector of police in Hajipur.
Paswan also said that following the Dadri incident, the Grand Alliance was successful in convincing the minority community that they would not be safe if the NDA came to power.
Paswan asked people to forgive any mistake his brother and Alauli LJP candidate Paras may have committed.
Paswan’s son-in-law meets Pappu, Manjhi’s set to contest independently, BJP veteran Chandramohan Rai quits party posts
The Union Minister's brother Pashupati Kumar Paras has been fielded from the reserved Alouli assembly seat.
Former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, an emerging Mahadalit leader, has been blowing hot and cold on Ram Vilas Paswan, an MP since 1977
Former chief minister Manjhi turned his guns on Paswan as he claimed that the LJP leader had insulted him by telling a news channel that "he (Manjhi) was on trial in NDA".
Paswan, however, rushed to clarify that he had never been in contention and Sinha had only expressed his individual opinion.
The government has sought Rs 284.45 crore in basic damages and Rs 355.50 crore in punitive damages.
Ram Vilas Paswan tabled the Consumer Protection Bill 2015 in the Lok Sabha Monday amid the uproar by Congress members over the Lalit Modi and Vyapam issues.
In June, FSSAI had banned Maggi noodles after it found its 30 samples "unsafe and hazardous" for human consumption.
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan discusses Bihar politics, Parliament standoff and caste census. Excerpts from interviews to Santosh Singh in Patna and Liz Mathew in New Delhi.
Sinha said Paswan could be a good candidate for the top post because of 'his acceptability among all leaders and his long standing political career'.
Ram Vilas Paswan said actions have rightly instilled the "fear" among those selling "sub-standard products".
Paswan accused Mayawati of 'dividing Dalits into sub-castes', 'separating Pasis and Khatiks' and not doing anything even for her own caste.
BJP started discussions over seat-sharing with its allies and during the Shah-Paswan meeting, it was decided that all NDA allies will campaign jointly.
Paswan said his ministry was planning to amend the Consumer Affairs Act to act against those involved in “misleading” advertisements.
Paswan said that any action against Nestle and Maggi at the national level could be taken only after receiving tests results from different states.
Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan: Whatever could be achieved in a year was achieved, the controversies courted by certain elements in the BJP had not sent the “right signal”
In assessing his government’s first year, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan says controversial remarks from within BJP and affiliates have sent wrong signals.
On Bihar polls, Paswan said he would talk of seat-sharing at an opportune time and his party would accept the CM candidate chosen by BJP.
Paswan also advocated reservation in the private sector and the judiciary.
Ram Vilas Paswan was addressing a Dalit Mahapanchayat in Varanasi.
Paswan said a total of 8.71 crore beneficiaries were listed for subsidised ration under the Food law in Bihar.
Ram Vilas Paswan talks to Santosh Singh on LJP’s change of stand on land acquisition Bill and Bihar politics ahead of state polls. Excerpts:
Paswan said that LJP put its views across in the meeting of NDA members on Tuesday.
The party draws its strength from Paswan's appeal among a section of Dalits in the eastern state.
As per the Centre’s guidelines, farmers should be paid Rs 2,200 per tonne for the sugarcane as FRP.
Paswan said he merely means that existing laws are enough.
NDA government is in talks with various state governments to amend APMC Acts.
Dismissing question whether the saffron outfit is dictating terms to PM, Paswan said Modi is not influenced by RSS.