Patna, May 30 (IANS) In active politics for over five decades now, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan is one of the more prominent Dalit faces in the BJP-led NDA.
A law graduate and MA, he was elected as a legislator in Bihar in 1969 after emerging as a student leader in the company of Sharad Yadav and Lalu Prasad.
In 1977, Paswan entered the book of Guinness World Records after he won the Hajipur Lok Sabha seat in Bihar by 4.24 lakh votes — even while he was in prison after having been arrested during the 1975-77 Emergency.
He has contested 10 parliamentary elections and won eight times from Hajipur.
An articulate speaker, Paswan has been a Union Minister since the mid-90s except for brief spells.
Born on July 5, 1946, Paswan was the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from 2014.
A member of the Dalit caste Dusadh, he was a Minister in the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he quit in protest following the 2002 Gujarat riots.
He then threw his lot with the Congress-led UPA and was a member of the Manmohan Singh cabinet before returning to Modi’s political fold.
The 73-year-old surprised everyone when he announced in January that he will not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Paswan’s LJP won all six seats it contested in Bihar. Three of the winners were his son Chirag Paswan and two brothers.
He has married twice – first to Raj Kumari Devi and then to Reena Sharma.