New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Union Minister and Lok Jan Shakti Party founder Ram Vilas Paswan passed away this evening at a Delhi hospital. He was 74. Paswan underwent heart surgery last week and was due to undergo another one in a few days, his son Chirag had informed the media. He was in charge of ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution in the second term of the Narendra Modi-led central government. 

The eight-time Lok Sabha MP was known for his affable nature and always struck a chord with voters, thanks to his humble demeanour. He had been in active politics for more than five decades and was one of the country's most popular Dalit leaders.

Born in a Dailt family in Bihar's Khagaria, Paswan completed his Masters from Kosi College, Khagaria.Paswan was only 23 when he was first elected to the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1969 from Alauli reserved Assembly seat in Khagaria. Interestingly, in the same year, he cleared Bihar provincial civil services examination and was shortlisted by provincial police service, starting as a deputy superintendent of police. However, Paswan preferred political career to that of a police officer.

Later, he was inspired by the ideals of Jayprakash Narayan and was arrested for his involvement in the anti-emergency struggle. He was locked in Phuwarisharif jail in Patna as part of crackdown during emergency. When he was released in 1977, he immediately joined the Janata Party.

Paswan made his Lok Sabha debut in 1977 on Janata Party ticket. He won the elections from the Hajipur constituency with a record margin of 4.24 lakh votes and making his way into the Guinness Book of World Records. It was only broken 14 years later by PV Narasimha Rao in 1991. He won the Lok Sabha elections of 1980, 1984, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2014 from Hajipur. 

He had formed LJP in 2000 and joined Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2004. Notably, Paswan had served as a cabinet minister under five prime ministers and his party has joined hands with all national coalitions.

Posted By: Rakesh Kumar Jha