Tuesday 27 October 2020

Ram Vilas Paswan dies at 74 days after undergoing heart surgery

Ram Vilas Paswan is the latest in an ominous series of deaths of ministers and parliamentarians witnessed under the Modi 1.0 and 2.0 regimes

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who recently underwent heart surgery at Delhi’s Fortis hospital, passed away late on Thursday. Paswan (74), who had been in active politics for more than five decades and is one of the country’s most noted Dalit leaders, has been hospitalised for the last few weeks.

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan tweeted, informing about his father and leader’s death. “पापा….अब आप इस दुनिया में नहीं हैं लेकिन मुझे पता है आप जहां भी हैं हमेशा मेरे साथ हैं। (Papa, you are no more in this world but I know, wherever you are, you are always with me) Miss you, Papa…,” Chirag wrote on Twitter.

Chirag had tweeted last week, “For the last many days dad is getting treated in a hospital. Due to some sudden developments on Saturday evening, an operation of his heart had to be conducted in the late night. If the need arises, then possibly after a few weeks another operation might be conducted. Thanks to all for standing by me and my family in this hour of struggle.”

Ram Vilas Paswan had said earlier that he finally got admitted to the hospital after Chirag realised he was ill and insisted that he got treated. He, however, did not reveal at that point what the illness was. He was admitted to Delhi’s Fortis Hospital for the surgery.

Some media reports stated he was suffering from multiple health issues, including existing heart conditions. He had undergone heart-related surgical procedures earlier.

“I am happy that my son Chirag is with me at this time and is doing all possible service. Along with taking care of me, he is also fulfilling his responsibilities towards the party,” Ram Vilas Paswan had written on Twitter.

Along with the news of his failing health, Ram Vilas Paswan had backed his son to take a call on LJP’s alliances for the upcoming Bihar assembly elections. “I stand firmly with every decision of his. I am confident that with his youthful thinking, Chirag will take the party and Bihar to new heights,” the father had said.

The LJP has been threatening to walk out of the NDA in Bihar NDA to protest against Nitish Kumar’s projection as the alliance’s face in Bihar polls.

Ram Vilas Paswan another minister of Modi to die in office

The Narendra Modi government has witnessed an ominous series of deaths of ministers and other parliamentarians while they were still serving their terms.

Union ministers Gopinath Munde (accident), Anil Madhav Dave (cardiac arrest) and Ananth Kumar (lung cancer) died during the tenure 2014-19.

After attending a meeting of Union Cabinet, Munde was on way to board a flight to Mumbai to attend his victory celebration in his parliamentary constituency Beed. He died of shock within seconds after a car rammed into his vehicle on the road.

Anil Madhav Dave, a leader from Madhya Pradesh who was the environment minister, died of cardiac arrest on May 18 in 2017. The 60-year-old Dave passed away in his sleep at his home and which came to light when his staff tried to wake him up.

Modi 2.0, in less than three months of coming to power, lost two big talents from its pool with back-to-back deaths of two eloquent leaders, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.

Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who served as chief minister of Goa, was 63 when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer after battling it out for over a year. He was the defence minister between 2014 and 2017 and a three-term chief minister of Goa, which was his last assignment.

Ananth Kumar (59), a prominent politician from Karnataka who was the Chemicals and fertilisers minister died, battling lung cancer on 12 November 2018. He was one of the few ministers in the new dispensation, who had served in the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee as well. So were Jaitley and Swaraj.

Apart from Union Ministers, death has snatched many talented MPs from the BJP in last five years including BJP MP from Alwar Mahant Chandnath, and its actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna, MP from Gurdaspur who died in 2017, both battling cancer.

Ram Vilas Paswan is the latest to go.

The career

Ram Vilas Paswan was the president of the Lok Janshakti Party, eight-time Lok Sabha member and current Rajya Sabha MP. He had started his political career as a member of the Samyukta Socialist Party. He was elected to the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1969.

Obituary: Ram Vilas Paswan

Later, Ram Vilas Paswan joined the Lok Dal upon its formation in 1974. He became its general secretary. He opposed 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, 1989, 1996 and 1998, 1999, 2004, and 2014.

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. Paswan won the 2004 Lok Sabha elections but lost the 2009 elections. After being a 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.

Ram Vilas Paswan married Rajkumari Devi in the 1960s. In 2014, he disclosed that he had divorced her in 1981 after his Lok Sabha nomination papers were challenged. He has left behind two daughters from the first wife, Usha and Asha.

In 1983, Ram Vilas Paswan married Reena Sharma, an air hostess. They have a son and a daughter. His son Chirag Paswan is an actor-turned-politician.

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