Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi and RJD president Lalu Prasad on Thursday condoled the death of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in Delhi. Paswan (74), who was the Lok Janshakti Party patron, had undergone a heart surgery at a hospital in the national capital a few days ago. His son Chirag Paswan informed about his demise.
A veteran dalit leader, Paswan was the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. He was born on July 5, 1946 in Khagaria district of Bihar.
The Bihar chief minister in his condolence message said "Paswan was a big signature in the Indian politics." He highlighted Paswan's start of political innings with a win in the Bihar legislative assembly election in 1969. Paswan hit the national headlines after a thumping victory from Hajipur Parliamentary constituency for the first time in 1977, he said.
Fondly remembering his old ties with the veteran leader, Kumar said "I am personally pained by his death."
Jailed RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, who has known Paswan since the 1970s when the former was a student leader and the latter a young member of the Bihar assembly, offered his condolences on his twitter handle.
"Shocked by the news of the death of Ram Vilas bhai (brother). Memories of an unbroken friendship that lasted for 45 years, during which we waged various social and political battles, are floating before my eyes. Ram Vilas bhai, you left us too soon. I am unable to say much more. Om Shanti!", tweeted Prasad who was also Paswans cabinet colleague in the UPA-1 government.
Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, a senior BJP leader who was like Prasad a dynamic student leader in the 1970s, also recalled his decades old relationship with Ram Vilas Paswan.
"He left an indelible imprint as a minister who held numerous portfolios in his career. The people of Bihar can never forget his contributions. He was a Dalit leader who took all sections of the society along, a reason why he enjoyed the support of the OBCs and the upper castes as well," Modi said in his condolence message.
Former chief minister Rabri Devi and her son Tejashwi Yadav also condoled the death of Paswan and recalled his close ties with their family.