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Monday, October 26, 2020

Union Minister and LJP patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan passes away

Ram Vilas Paswan had been serving as the Union Minister of Food and Public Distribution in the Narendra Modi-led NDA government. He was 74.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 8, 2020 11:32:11 pm
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Union Minister and LJP patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan passed away Thursday evening, his son Chirag tweeted. He was 74. Paswan had undergone heart surgery last week and was due to undergo another one in a few days. He was in critical condition with multiple organ complications.

“Ram Vilas Paswan was put on ventilator and ECMO support for failing heart and lungs. He subsequently underwent heart surgery and implantation of right and left ventricular assist device to support heart function and recovery of vital organs. His medical condition deteriorated in the last 24 hours and despite continuous efforts, Shri Paswan passed away at 6:05 pm on 8th October 2020,” a statement issued by the Fortis hospital said.

A Dalit leader from Bihar, Paswan had been serving as the Union Minister of Food and Public Distribution in the Narendra Modi-led NDA government.

An eight-time Lok Sabha MP, Paswan went to jail during Indira Gandhi’s tenure when an emergency was imposed in the country. He began his political career as a member of the Samyukta Socialist Party and in 1969 became a member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly.

Paswan was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1977 as a Janata Party member and also held the Guinness record of winning his constituency, Hajipur, with the highest margin for several years.

He had formed LJP in 2000 and joined Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2004.

 ram vilas paswan, ram vilas paswan death, ram vilas paswan news, ram vilas paswan death news, ram vilas paswan passes away, ram vilas paswan dies, ram vilas paswan dead, union minister ram vilas paswan, union minister ram vilas paswan news, ljp ram vilas paswan, ram vilas paswan age, ram vilas paswan bihar, ram vilas paswan minister news Ram Vilas Paswan was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1977. (Express archive)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President JP Nadda have all spoken to Chirag on the phone offering their condolences, the LJP said in a statement.

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.

“Paswan ji had enviable rapport with masses and he ardently strove for their welfare. Condolences to his family and supporters,” the President tweeted.

Calling it a personal loss, 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 added.

Ram Vilas Paswan had formed the Lok JanShakti Party (LJP)in 2000 and joined Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2004. (Express archive)

Bihar Chief Minister and JDU Chief Nitish Kumar also expressed his condolence. In a tweet, he said: “I am personally saddened by the death of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan Ji. His death is an irreparable loss to Indian politics. May his soul rest in peace.”

Jailed RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, who has known Paswan since the 1970s when the former was a student leader and the latter a young member of the Bihar assembly, offered his condolences on his twitter handle.

“Shocked by the news of the death of Ram Vilas bhai. Memories of an unbroken friendship that lasted for 45 years, during which we waged various social and political battles, are floating before my eyes. Ram Vilas bhai, you left us too soon.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also expressed his condolence to Paswan’s family. In a tweet, Gandhi said: “The news of the untimely demise of Ram Vilas Paswan is sad. The Dalit community lost one of its strong political voices today. My condolences to his family.”

Read | ‘A firebrand socialist, voice of oppressed’: Leaders pay tributes to LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan

Remembering Paswan, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the Modi government will remain committed to fulfilling his dream of the welfare of the poor and the development of Bihar.

 

“His absence in Indian politics and Union Cabinet will always remain. Modi government will be committed to fulfill his dream of welfare of poor and development of Bihar. My condolences to his family and supporters. I pray for the peace of the departed soul,” Shah tweeted.

SEE | Rare photos of Ram Vilas Paswan from Express archives

Paswan had served as a Union Minister under five prime ministers and his party has been a member of all national coalitions. He hailed from Shaharbanni Village in Khagaria District of Bihar. His son, Chirag Paswan currently heads the LJP.

Ram Vilas Paswan death Bihar LJP Ram Vilas Paswan during an event in New Delhi. (Express photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

Last month, Paswan had said that he stood “firmly” with his son Chirag, and that he had “full faith that Chirag will take Bihar to new heights”. His support for his son was followed by a flurry of support for Chirag, who was authorised by the party to take a final call on whether to contest the Bihar elections under the leadership of Chief Minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar.

On Sunday, the LJP said that it would fight the upcoming Bihar elections separately — and not as part of the ruling JD(U)-BJP alliance. However, it said that its alliance with the BJP at the Centre was “firm”, that its MLAs would back the BJP in a post-poll scenario, and that the split for the Bihar polls was due to “ideological differences” with the JD(U).

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