Ram Vilas Paswan

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Ram Vilas Paswan
Ram Vilas Paswan.jpg
Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution
Assumed office
26 May 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by K.V. Thomas
Member of Lok Sabha
In office
1977, 1980, 1984, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2014
Constituency Hajipur, Bihar
Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers[1]
In office
23 May 2004 – 22 May 2009
Succeeded by M. K. Alagiri
Minister of Mines[1]
In office
1 September 2001 – 29 April 2002
Preceded by Sunder Lal Patwa
Minister of Communications and Information Technology[1]
In office
13 October 1999 – 1 September 2001
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Succeeded by Pramod Mahajan
Minister of Railways[2]
In office
1 June 1996 – 19 March 1998
Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda, I.K. Gujral
Preceded by C. K. Jaffer Sheriff
Succeeded by Nitish Kumar
Member of Rajya sabha
In office
July 2010[1] – 2014
Personal details
Born (1946-07-05) 5 July 1946 (age 69)
Khagaria, Bihar, India
Political party Lok Janashakti Party
Spouse(s) Rajkumari Devi (1969–1981)
Reena Paswan (1982–present)
Children 4; including Chirag Paswan
Residence Khagaria, Bihar
Religion Hinduism
As of May, 2014
Source: [1]

Ram Vilas Paswan (born 5 July 1946) is an Indian politician, from Bihar and the current Union MInister of Food and Public Distribution. Paswan is also the president of the Lok Janshakti Party, eight time Lok Sabha member and former Rajya Sabha MP.[3] Started his political career as member of Samyukta Socialist Party and was elected to the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1969. Next he joined Lok Dal upon its formation in 1974, and became its general secretary. He opposed the emergency, and was arrested during the period. He entered the Lok Sabha in 1977, as a Janata Party member from Hajipur constituency, was chosen again 1980, 1984, 1989, 1996 and 1998.

In 2000, he formed the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) as its President. Subsequently, he joined the ruling United Progressive Alliance government and remained a Union Minister in Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Ministry of Steel. He won the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, but lost the 2009 elections. After being member of a Rajya Sabha member from 2010 to 2014, he was elected again to the 16th Lok Sabha in the 2014 Indian general election from Hajipur constituency.

Early life and education[edit]

Paswan was born in a Dalit family in 1946 in Bihar.[4] Paswan holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Arts degrees from Kosi College, Khagaria and Patna University.[5]

Political career[edit]

Paswan was elected to the Bihar state legislative assembly in 1969 as a member of the Samyukta Socialist Party ("United Socialist Party") from a reserved constituency. 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. He parted ways with Morarji Desai and joined Janata Party-S led by Lokbandhu Raj Narain as party's president and later as its Chairman.

In 1975, when emergency was proclaimed in India, he was arrested and spent the entire period in jail. On being released in 1977, he became a member of the Janata Party[6] and won election to Parliament for the first time on its ticket, and he held the world record for winning election by highest margin. He was re-elected to the 7th Lok Sabha in 1980 and 1984 from Hajipur constituency. In 1983, he established the Dalit Sena, an organisation for Dalit emancipation and welfare.

Paswan was re-elected to the 9th Lok Sabha in 1989 and was appointed Union Minister of Labour and Welfare in the Vishwanath Pratap Singh government. In 1996 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 he first became the Union Railway Minister. He continued to hold that post till 1998. Thereafter, he 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.

In 2000 Paswan broke from the Janata Dal, to form the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). Following the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Paswan joined the United Progressive Alliance government and was made the Union Minister in Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Ministry of Steel.

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 Laloo Yadav, whom he accused of being extremely corrupt, or the right-wing National Democratic Alliance thereby creating a stalemate. 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. 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.

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 holds the distinction of continuously holding on to a cabinet berth in all the Council of Ministers formed since 1996 (as of 2015). He also holds the distinction of being 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.[7]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches development projects at Arrah, Bihar

For the Indian general election, 2009 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. He 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. 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.

He was elected as member of 16th Lok Sabha after the 2014 Indian general election from Hajipur constituency, while his son Chirag Paswan won from Jamui constituency also in Bihar.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Paswan hails from Shaharbanni village in Khagaria district of Bihar. He was born to a scheduled-caste family. He married Rajkumari Devi in 1960s and divorced in 1981.[9][10] He has two daughters from first wife, Usha and Asha. In 1983, he married Reena Sharma , an airhostess and a Punjabi Hindu from Amritsar.[11][12] They have a son and a daughter. His Son Chirag Paswan is an actor-turned-politician.[10][13]


External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Leader of the Lok Jan Shakti Party in the 16th Lok Sabha