New Delhi: Veteran leader and Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution of the Union, Ram Vilas Paswan, who had been admitted to a private hospital here for the last few days, passed away on Thursday night, his family members said. He had been 74. His son and Lok Janshakti Party leader, Chirag Paswan, declared the news of his demise, tweeting," Dad, now you are no longer in this world, but wherever you are, you will be with me. Miss you daddy ...” He also shared an old photo, along with the post, of him and his father. According to his close relatives, at about 8.20 p.m. on Thursday night, Paswan breathed his last. He was admitted to Fortis Hospital here for several days following heart ailments. As soon as they learned of the news, Union ministers Dr Harsh Vardhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ramdas Athawale reached the hospital.
Chirag Paswan revealed on Saturday that his father had to undergo surgery on Friday night because of sudden circumstances. And, if possible, in the coming weeks, one more operation will be needed. “I'm grateful to everyone for being with me and my family members through such testing times,” he tweeted. His death came just a few days after Chirag Paswan decided to leave the NDA in Bihar to contest on his own in the Assembly polls. Paswan was one of the country's leading Dalit politicians, the Narendra Modi government minister, the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-1 government, as well as the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government at the Centre.
Founded on July 5, 1946 in Khagaria district of Bihar, he had been chosen for police service but decided to enter politics. In 1969, he was first elected as an MLA and completed five decades of active politics in 2019. In 1977, he entered Parliament for the first time with a record margin, was elected eight times from the Hajipur parliamentary constituency to the Lok Sabha and served under six prime ministers as Union Minister.
In order to extend their condolences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congressional Interim Chief Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President J.P. Nadda and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis spoke to Chirag Paswan by phone. A message of condolence began to flow from across the political spectrum.
Modi tweeted: "Beyond words, I am saddened. In our country, there is a hole that maybe will never be filled. The disappearance of Ram Vilas Paswan Ji is a personal loss. I've lost a friend, a beloved colleague, and someone incredibly passionate about ensuring that every poor person lives a dignified life.” Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted:" Ram Vilas Paswan Paswan's untimely demise is saddening. The poor have been downtrodden and Dalit has lost a powerful voice today. My condolences to members of his family.”
Also on Twitter, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh posted, "The death of Ram Vilas Paswanji is very painful for me. He always worked for the upliftment of the poor, downtrodden and Dalits in his long political career. He was considered to be one of Bihar's largest land-related leaders and he has good ties across political lines.”
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted: “Either the news of Ram Vilas Paswanji surprised me. To him, my heartfelt condolences. In uplifting the poor, oppressed Dalits and the downtrodden, Paswanji played an important role. May the departed soul be granted peace by Heaven. Om Shanti.”
The death of Paswan was also condoned by Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. She said in a tweet: "For years, Ram Vilas ji was my mother's neighbour and our family shared a personal friendship with him. The news of his passing is saddening. My sympathies are with Chiragji and the whole family. In this sad hour, we're standing with a family.”