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Ram Vilas Paswan

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Ram Vilas Paswan
Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution
In office
26 May 2014 – 8 October 2020
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Preceded bySharad Pawar
Succeeded byPiyush Goyal
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
28 June 2019 – 8 October 2020
Preceded byRavi Shankar Prasad
Succeeded bySushil Kumar Modi
In office
July 2010[1] – 2014
Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers[1]
In office
23 May 2004 – 22 May 2009
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded bySunder Lal Patwa
Succeeded byM. K. Alagiri
Minister of Mines[1]
In office
1 September 2001 – 29 April 2002
Prime MinisterAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded bySunder Lal Patwa
Succeeded byUma Bharti
Minister of Communications and Information Technology[1]
In office
13 October 1999 – 1 September 2001
Prime MinisterAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded byAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Succeeded byPramod Mahajan
Leader of House in Lok Sabha
In office
4 June 1996 – 4 December 1997
Prime MinisterH.D. Deve Gowda
I.K. Gujral
Preceded byAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Succeeded byAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Minister of Railways[2]
In office
1 June 1996 – 19 March 1998
Prime MinisterH. D. Deve Gowda
I. K. Gujral
Preceded byC. K. Jaffer Sheriff
Succeeded byNitish Kumar
Minister of Labour and Welfare
In office
5 December 1989 – 10 November 1990
Prime MinisterVishwanath Pratap Singh
Preceded byBindeshwari Dubey
Succeeded byK. Chandrasekhar Rao
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded byRam Sundar Das
Succeeded byPashupati Kumar Paras
In office
Preceded byRam Sundar Das
Succeeded byRam Sundar Das
In office
Preceded byDasai Chowdhary
Succeeded byPitambar Paswan
In office
Preceded byRam Ratan Ram
Succeeded byRam Sundar Das
In office
Preceded byRamshekhar Prasad Singh
Succeeded byRam Ratan Ram
Personal details
Born(1946-07-05)5 July 1946
Khagaria, Bihar, British India
Died8 October 2020(2020-10-08) (aged 74)
New Delhi, India
Political partyLok Janshakti Party
Other political
Janata Dal, Janata Party
Rajkumari Devi
(m. 1969; div. 1981)
Reena Sharma
(m. 1983⁠–⁠2020)
Children4; including Chirag Kumar Paswan
Residence(s)Khagaria, Bihar, India
Alma materPatna University (M.A., LLB)
AwardsPadma Bhushan (2021) (posthumously)
As of 30 May, 2019
Source: [1]

Ram Vilas Paswan (5 July 1946 – 8 October 2020)[3] was an Indian politician from Bihar and the Cabinet Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in the first and second Modi ministries. Paswan was also the president of the Lok Janshakti Party, nine-times Lok Sabha member and two-time Rajya Sabha MP.[4] He started his political career as member of Samyukta Socialist Party and was elected to the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1969. Later, Paswan joined Lok Dal upon its formation in 1974, and became its general secretary. He opposed the emergency, and was arrested during this period. He first entered the Lok Sabha in 1977, as a Janata Party member from Hajipur constituency, and was elected again in 1980, 1989, 1991 (from Rosera), 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2014.[5][6]

In 2000, Paswan formed the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) as its president. Subsequently, in 2004, he joined the ruling United Progressive Alliance government and remained a Union Minister in Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Ministry of Steel. He was posthumously awarded India's third highest civilian award the Padma Bhushan in 2021.[7][8]

He was known for holding cabinet positions under 7 governments. He was known as the weatherman of Indian politics.[9]

Early life and education[edit]

Paswan was born in a Dusadh family on 5 July 1946 in Shaharbanni, Khagaria district of Bihar to Jamun Paswan and Siya Devi.[10][11] Paswan held Bachelor of Laws and Master of Arts degrees from Kosi College, Khagaria and Patna University.[12] He had been selected as a DSP in Bihar Police in 1969.[13][14]

Political career[edit]

Ram Vilas Paswan in his office after taking charge as the Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers in New Delhi on 24 May 2004

Paswan was elected to the Bihar state legislative assembly in 1969[15] as a member of the Samyukta Socialist Party ("United Socialist Party") from Alauli, a reserved constituency. He lost 1972 Vidhan Sabha election from Alauli to Shri Mishri Sada of Congress.[16] In 1974, as an ardent follower of Raj Narain and Jayaprakash Narayan Paswan became the general secretary of the Lok Dal. He was personally close to the prominent leaders of anti-emergency like Raj Narain, Karpoori Thakur and Satyendra Narayan Sinha.[17]

In 1975, when emergency was proclaimed in India, Paswan was arrested and spent the entire period in jail. On being released in 1977, he became a member of the Janata Party[18] and won election to Parliament for the first time on its ticket from Hajipur with a record margin (later broken) of 424,000 and 89.3% votes which is perhaps an all-time record for general election in India. Former PM Narasimha Rao got a higher percentage of vote in a 1991 bye-poll. When Janata Party split in 1979, he joined Charan Singh's faction. Paswan was re-elected to the 7th Lok Sabha in 1980 from Hajipur constituency as Janata Party (Socialist) candidate. In 1983, he established the Dalit Sena, an organisation for Dalit emancipation and welfare. The Dalit Sena was later headed by his brother Ram Chandra Paswan. Later it was renamed as Scheduled Caste sena in a vein similar to the Scheduled Caste federation established by Bhim Rao Ambedkar.[19] Paswan lost 1984 Lok Sabha election from Hajipur.[20]

Paswan was elected to the 9th Lok Sabha in 1989 and was appointed Union Minister of Labour and Welfare in the Vishwanath Pratap Singh government.[6] He was elected to Lok Sabha from Rosera (Lok Sabha constituency) in 1991, the only time between 1977 and 2014 when he did not contest from Hajipur. In 1996, he won again from Hajipur, and he even led the ruling alliance or Proposition in the Lok Sabha as the prime minister was a member of the Rajya Sabha. This was also the year when Paswan first became the Union Railway Minister. He continued to hold that post till 1998.[21] Thereafter, Paswan was the Union Communications Minister from October 1999 to September 2001 when he was shifted to the Coal Ministry, the portfolio he held till April 2002.[22]

In 2000, Paswan broke from the Janata Dal, to form the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). He resigned as minister and left the ruling NDA in 2002 after developing differences with BJP. Following the 2004 Lok Sabha elections,[21] Paswan joined the United Progressive Alliance government and was made the Union Minister in Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Ministry of Steel.[23]

Ramvilas Paswan (extreme left), with Nitish Kumar (centre) and Narendra Modi, inspecting the inaugural of Bihar Museum.

In the February 2005 Bihar State elections, Paswan's party LJP along with the Indian National Congress contested the election. The result was that no particular party or alliance could form a government by itself. However, Paswan consistently refused to support either Lalu Prasad Yadav, whom he accused of being extremely corrupt, or the right-wing National Democratic Alliance thereby creating a stalemate.[24] This stalemate was broken when Nitish Kumar succeeded in persuading 12 members of Paswan's party to defect; to prevent the formation of a government supported by LJP defectors, the Governor of Bihar, Buta Singh dissolved the state legislature and called for fresh elections, keeping Bihar under President's Rule.[25] In the November 2005 Bihar state elections, Paswan's third-alliance was utterly devastated; the Laloo Yadav-Congress alliance reduced to a minority and the NDA formed the new government.[26]

Paswan together with Lalu Prasad Yadav (center) and Amar Singh (left) at a party rally in Mumbai during the 2009 general elections.

Paswan has declared that the Bihar state elections have no influence on the Central Government, which will continue with both him and Laloo Yadav as ministers. Paswan has served as a Union Minister under five different Prime Ministers and continuously held a cabinet berth in all the Council of Ministers formed since 1996 (as of 2015). He was also part of all the national coalitions (the United Front, the National Democratic Alliance and the United Progressive Alliance), which have formed the Indian Government from 1996 to 2015.[27]

For the 2009 Indian general election Paswan forged an alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav and his Rashtriya Janata Dal, while dumping their erstwhile coalition partner and leader of the United Progressive Alliance, the Indian National Congress from the new alliance. The duo was later joined by Mulayam Singh's Samajwadi Party and were declared the Fourth Front.[28] Paswan lost the elections from Hajipur to the Janata Dal's Ram Sundar Das, a former chief minister of Bihar for the first time in 33 years.[5] His party the Lok Janshakti Party was not able to win any seats in the 15th Lok Sabha, while his coalition partner Yadav and his party too failed to perform well and were reduced to 4 seats.[26]

Paswan was elected as member of 16th Lok Sabha after the 2014 Indian general election from Hajipur constituency when he contested in alliance with BJP, while his son Chirag Paswan won from Jamui constituency also in Bihar.[29]

Paswan was again given charge of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in May 2014, which continued in Second Modi ministry in 2019.[30][31] He was elected to Rajya Sabha in 2019 with the help of BJP though his own party had only 2 MLAs in the state assembly.

Personal life[edit]

Paswan married Rajkumari Devi in 1960s. In 2014, he disclosed that he had divorced her in 1981, after his Lok Sabha nomination papers were challenged.[32][33] Paswan had two daughters from first wife, Usha and Asha.[33][34] In 1983, he married Reena Sharma, an air hostess.[10][35][36] They had a son and a daughter. His son Chirag Kumar Paswan is an actor-turned-politician.[33][37]

He was often called a dynast. He brought his brothers Pashupati Kumar Paras and Ram Chandra Paswan into politics. Of the six seats that the LJP won in 2019, three were from his family – son Chirag, and brothers Pashupati Kumar Paras and Ram Chandra Paswan. Ram Chandra's son Prince Raj succeeded his father upon his death.[21]


Paswan died on 8 October 2020, and his death was confirmed by his son, Chirag Paswan.[38][39][40] Paswan had undergone heart surgery and was hospitalised for a few weeks prior to his death.[41] Paswan was cremated in Patna on 10 October 2020. His body was brought to Janardan Ghat in the Digha locality from his residence in Shri Krishna Puri, about 3 km away, for the last rites.[42]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Paswan's Delhi residence to pay homage to him. Also, senior leader and former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav paid tribute to him.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Rajya Sabha members". National Informatics Centre, New Delhi and Rajya Sabha. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  2. ^ "List of Minister of Railways of India on Indian Railways Fan Club website". Indian Railways Fan Club. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Ram Vilas Paswan, Dalit face at the Centre, dies after long innings". The Times of India. 9 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.; "Ram Vilas Paswan, union minister, passes away at 74". mint. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  4. ^ Srivastava, Amitabh (5 July 2015). "Bihar elections: Ram Vilas Paswan remained a facilitator, never the face". India Today. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Ram Vilas Paswan". Business Standard India. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Ram Vilas Paswan | Indian politician". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Padma Awards 2021 announced". Ministry of Home Affairs. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  8. ^ "Shinzo Abe, Tarun Gogoi, Ram Vilas Paswan among Padma Award winners: Complete list". The Times of India. 25 January 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  9. ^ Mishra, Ashok (9 October 2020). "Ram Vilas Paswan, the 'Weatherman' of Indian Politics, Leaves Behind a Void Near Impossible to Fill". News18. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  10. ^ a b "Current Lok Sabha Members Biographical Sketch". 19 June 2006. Archived from the original on 19 June 2006. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  11. ^ Singh, Santosh (29 July 2015). "'Ram Vilas Dalit face wherever you go, Jitan Ram Manjhi can be Mahadalit face'". The Indian Express. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  12. ^ "PIB :: Profiles". pib.nic.in. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  13. ^ @irvpaswan (26 March 2016). "1969 मे मेरा DSP मे और MLA दोनो मे एक साथ चयन हुआ।तब मेरे एक मित्र नेपूछा कि बताओ Govt बनना है या Servant ?बस तभी मैंने राजनीति ज्वाइन कर ली" (Tweet). Retrieved 16 August 2020 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ Srivastava, Amitabh (6 June 2019). "Ram Vilas Paswan: The Weather God". India Today. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  15. ^ "Ram Vilas Paswan: A kingmaker who outlasted many kings". The Economic Times. 9 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  16. ^ "Bihar Assembly Election Results in 1972". Elections in India. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  17. ^ Avinash (10 September 2015). "Bihar Assembly Elections 2015: Know your leader Profile - Ram Vilas Paswan". One India. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  18. ^ "Total Revolution". archive. Retrieved 2 December 2006.
  19. ^ Ahmed, Soroor (11 September 2018). "Bihar: Has Paswan lost his revolutionary zeal and love for Dalits?". National Herald. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  20. ^ "1984 India General (8th Lok Sabha) Elections Results". www.elections.in. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  21. ^ a b c Nair, Sobhana K. (8 October 2020). "Ram Vilas Paswan obituary | Dalit leader who wore many a hat". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Ram Vilas Paswan". India Today. 26 March 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  23. ^ PTI (31 May 2019). "Ram Vilas Paswan - New Cabinet Minister Who Has Worked Under 6 PMs". NDTV. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  24. ^ Madhav, Sanjay Kumar & Neel (18 August 2020). "In Bihar, a balancing act: on poll alliances". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  25. ^ Ramachandran, T. R (24 May 2005). "Bihar Assembly dissolved Nitish pre-empted; NDA cries foul". Tribune. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  26. ^ a b "Ram Vilas Paswan: Stalwart of socialist movement and Bihar's foremost Dalit leader". Zee News. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  27. ^ "Details of Member: Shri Ram Vilas Paswan". archive. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  28. ^ Joshi, Poornima (8 October 2020). "Obituary | Ram Vilas Paswan (1946-2020): A man for all seasons". Business Line. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  29. ^ "LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, son Chirag Paswan win". Daily News & Analysis. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  30. ^ "Shrewd Politician, BJP's Dalit Face Ram Vilas Paswan to Head Ministry of Consumer Affairs in Modi 2.0 Cabinet". News18. 31 May 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  31. ^ "PM Modi allocates portfolios. Full list of new ministers", Live Mint, 31 May 2019
  32. ^ Kumar, Madan (23 April 2014). "Ram Vilas Paswan discloses divorce with first wife". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  33. ^ a b c "Ram Vilas Paswan says he divorced first wife Rajkumari Devi in 1981". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  34. ^ Tripathi, Piyush (14 September 2018). "Will fight against dad in Lok Sabha polls: Ram Vilas daughter". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  35. ^ "Bihar – Political way to nurture love". The Telegraph. 14 February 2011. Archived from the original on 2 June 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  36. ^ Kumar, Abhay (14 February 2011). "When Bihar netas were bitten by love bug". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  37. ^ Sharma, Suruchi (7 November 2011). "Arranged marriage for Chirag Paswan?". The Times of India. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  38. ^ "Union Minister and LJP patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan passes away". The Indian Express. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  39. ^ Kumar, Manish; Sanyal, Anindita (9 October 2020). "Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan Dies Days After Heart Surgery". NDTV. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  40. ^ @iChiragPaswan (8 October 2020). "पापा....अब आप इस दुनिया में नहीं हैं लेकिन मुझे पता है आप जहां भी हैं हमेशा मेरे साथ हैं। Miss you Papa..." (Tweet). Retrieved 11 October 2020 – via Twitter.
  41. ^ "Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Consumer Affairs Minister, Dies Days After Heart Surgery at Delhi Hospital". News18. 9 October 2020. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  42. ^ "Ram Vilas Paswan, a man for all seasons in Indian politics, cremated in Patna". The Times of India. PTI. 10 October 2020. Retrieved 10 October 2020.

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