Ram Vilas Paswan's cremation held in Patna as nation mourns LJP supremo's death
Patna, Oct 10: The mortal remains of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, a man for all seasons and one of the tallest leaders spawned by the Dalit community, were consigned to flames in Patna on Saturday with full state honours.
A sea of people could be seen, besides dignitaries led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, at the cremation site on the banks of the Ganges in the city that has been a witness to the Lok Janshakti Party founders long journey - from a young MLA of the socialist party in the late 1960s to having served under six prime ministers.
A large number of supporters had come to the Digha ghat from his pocket borough Hajipur, situated right across the river, which Paswan had nurtured since his Lok Sabha debut in 1977 when he won with a record margin.
Paswan (74) died at a private hospital here on Thursday evening after recently undergoing a heart surgery.
Born on July 5, 1946, in Shaharbanni in Bihar's Khagaria district, Paswan was educated at Kosi College, Khagaria and Patna University. He obtained degrees in Master of Arts (MA) and Bachelor of Law (LLB). He was also conferred the Degree of D.Litt. (Honoris Causa) by Bundelkhand University, Jhansi.
Paswan was one of the most popular leaders from Bihar and enjoyed strong mass support. He was elected to the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1969 as a member of the Samyukta Socialist Party.
Thereafter, he was elected as a member of the sixth Lok Sabha from Hajipur constituency in 1977 with a record margin. He was re-elected to the seventh Lok Sabha in 1980 and the eighth in 1984.
Paswan was re-elected to the ninth Lok Sabha in 1989 and appointed as the Union minister for labour and welfare. In 1996, he became the minister for railways and continued to hold the post till 1998.
He later served as the minister for communications from October 1999 to September 2001, when he was made the minister of coal and mines, a portfolio he held till April 2002.
After the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Paswan joined the United Progressive Alliance government and was made the minister of chemicals and fertilisers and minister of steel.
He was elected to the 16th Lok Sabha in 2014 and served as the minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution. In 2019, he was elected to Rajya Sabha and continued as the minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution.
Paswan was considered the voice of the oppressed and always championed the cause of marginalised sections of the society.