Remembering Bihar stalwart: Ram Vilas Paswan
New Delhi, Oct 8: Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, one of the most prominent Dalit leaders of the country, died on Thursday at the age of 74. Announcing the minister's demise, his son Chirag Paswan tweeted, "Papa, you are no more in this world but I know you are with me wherever you are. Miss you papa." The Lok Janshakti Party founder and Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution was admitted to a private hospital here for several weeks and had recently undergone a heart operation.
He had been in active politics for more than five decades and was one of the country's most noted Dalit leaders. He was the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
Chirag Paswan tweeted, "Papa...you are not in this world today but I know no matter where you are, you will always be with me. Miss you papa."
A stalwart of the socialist movement who later emerged as Bihar's foremost Dalit leader with following across the country, Ram Vilas Paswan was instrumental in the implementation of the Mandal Commission report in the 1990s.
Ram Vilas Paswan was born to Late Shri Jamun Paswan and Late Smt. Siya Devi in a Dalit family and hails from from Shaharbanni village in Khagaria district of Bihar.
Born in Khagaria in 1946, Paswan holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Arts degrees from Kosi College, Pilkhi and Patna University. He was married to Rajkumari Devi in 1960s.
In 2014 he disclosed that he had divorced her in 1981, after his Lok Sabha nomination papers were challenged. He has two daughters from first wife, Usha and Asha.
In 1983, he married Reena Sharma, an airhostess and a Punjabi Hindu from Amritsar.They have a son and a daughter. His son Chirag Paswan is an actor-turned-politician.
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. His demise comes days before Bihar goes to Assembly polls in three phases beginning October 28.