Lok Janshakti Party founder and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan passed away on Thursday at a Delhi hospital. He was 74. Paswan, a minister in the Modi government, was one of the most prominent Dalit leaders in the country. Announcing Paswan’s demise, his son Chirag tweeted, “Papa, you are no more in this world but I know you are with me wherever you are. Miss you papa.”
Paswan, Rajya Sabha MP, was Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in the NDA government. He was admitted to a private hospital in the national capital for several weeks and had recently undergone a heart operation. A stalwart of the socialist movement, Paswan was instrumental in the implementation of the Mandal Commission report in the 1990s.
Paswan won from Hajipur eight times between 1977 and 2014. In 1977 and 1980, Paswan had won on a Janata Party ticket. In 1977, he registered a Guinness World Record by winning the election from Hajipur with a margin of 4.24 lakh votes, the maximum margin by any politician in the world. This record was, however, broken by PV Narasimha Rao when he won from the Nandyal constituency in Andhra Pradesh in 1991 by five lakh votes.
In 1984, Paswan was uprooted in the Congress wave in wake of the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Between 1989 and 1998, Paswan represented Hajipur in the Lok Sabha thrice on Janata Dal ticket. In 1991, former Bihar CM Ram Sundar Das won from Hajipur when Paswan had shifted to the Rosera constituency. In 1999, Paswan was elected again from Hajipur but on a Janata Dal (United) ticket. But in November 2000, Paswan quit the JD(U) and floated his own political party LJP.
He again successfully contested in 2004 on an LJP ticket. The seat went to JD(U) in 2009 when Ram Sundar Das defeated Paswan by just 36,000 votes. In 2014, when LJP returned to the NDA fold, Paswan again contested from Hajipu and won by a margin of 2.25 lakh votes.
In the 2019 elections, Paswan didn’t contest the election. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar as a part of the seat-sharing agreement among the NDA constituents in the state. His brother Pasupati Kumar Paras won from Hajipur in 2019.
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