New Delhi, October 8: Ram Vilas Paswan, one of the senior most politicians in India with a political career spanning over five decades, breathed his last on Thursday. Paswan's death came weeks after he was hospitalised after suffering from congestion in the lungs and acute kidney failure. His death, say analysts, will leave behind a significant void in the realm of Indian politics. Here's the political journey of the late former LJP chief. Ram Vilas Paswan Dies, Union Minister and LJP leader No More, Tweets His Son Chirag Paswan.
Born on July 5, 1946, in Khagaria town of Bihar, Paswan rose to emerge as one of the prominent "socialist" leaders of the era. In 1969, he was elected to the Bihar legislative assembly. In the years that followed, Paswan came under the aegis of Jai Prakash Narayan and was one of the young faces of the JP Andolan which led to the imposition of emergency.
During the emergency years, Paswan was jailed for the entire 18-month period. His popularity peaked, and in the general elections that followed in 1977, he was elected from Hajipur constituency with a massive victory margin. The seat was consecutively represented by him 8 times, before deciding to step back from electoral politics in 2019.
Paswan also holds the distinct record of being part of each coalition government at the Centre since 1989. He has been a key member of the United Democratic Front that was led by Janata Dal and other socialist parties in the 90s, followed by the NDA in 1999-2004 and the two UPA governments between 2004-14.
In 2014, he had switched over to the NDA led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For the entire five-year period, he was entrusted with the crucial Food Supplies Ministry. The charge was again assigned to him after the Modi-led NDA returned to power in 2019.
Paswan's political career that stretched for roughly 51 years also involved his association with five major political parties. He was first elected as a legislator on the ticket of Samyukta Socialist Party, switched to the Lok Dal in 1974, joined the Janata Party in 1977 and became part of the Janata Dal in 1980. In the year 2000, he formed his own Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and remained its chief till 2018. The party is now headed by his son and political heir Chirag Paswan.