His mortal remains will be brought to his Delhi residence 12 Janpath at 10 am on Saturday; then it will be flown to Patna and will be kept at the LJP office, before being cremated in the evening.
The 74-year-old LJP patron was admitted with heart failure and kidney shutdown and was managed with medication and subsequently by dialysis. Paswan’s death just on the eve of Bihar elections will add an emotive element to the campaign, with his son Chirag having decided that LJP will contest separate from NDA.
The national flag will be flown at half mast on Friday in Delhi and capitals of all states and UTs where it is regularly flown, and also on the day of the funeral at the place where the last rites take place. It has also been decided that a state funeral will be accorded to Paswan, who was seen as a leading Dalit political figure after BSP chief Mayawati.
“His medical condition deteriorated in the last 24 hours and despite continuous efforts, the 74-year-old leader passed away,” said Dr Ashok Seth, chairman, FEHI.
Chirag Paswan tweeted, “Papa, you are no more in this world but I know you are with me wherever you are. Miss you papa.”
Condoling Paswan’s death, PM Narendra Modi tweeted, “I am saddened beyond words. There is a void in our nation that will perhaps never be filled. Shri Ram Vilas Paswan Ji’s demise is a personal loss. I have lost a friend, valued colleague and someone who was extremely passionate to ensure every poor person leads a life of dignity.”
I am saddened beyond words. There is a void in our nation that will perhaps never be filled. Shri Ram Vilas Paswan… https://t.co/FADBuZNiHt
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1602171791000
Paswan caught wider attention in the 1980 Lok Sabha polls that saw Indira Gandhi staging a spectacular comeback by avenging the electoral humiliation at the hands of the Janata Party three years ago. The populous Congress benches included a big contingent of Youth Congress workers, a rambunctious lot who earned their spurs as street warriors under Sanjay Gandhi. They often allowed their partisan passions to trump parliamentary decorum, inconveniencing opposition who were forced to yield to the noise.
This threatened to become the routine when a young MP from Hajipur, who had defied the Indira wave to retain his seat by a huge margin, took on the challenge. “This is Parliament, not Chandi Chowk,” he thundered, taking both opponents and colleagues by surprise.
The aggression became the hallmark of Ramvilas Paswan’s performance in Parliament, earning him a place among the well-known opposition faces.
Coming from a Dalit family in caste-ridden Bihar, Paswan’s ascendance was particularly striking. Arguably, it marked the introduction in north India of the subaltern assertiveness which had struggled to advance beyond Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Dalit politics in north, barring a few pockets in Uttar Pradesh, which came under the sway of Ambedkar’s Republican Party of India and those in Bihar where they were won over by seductive promise of revolution by Maoists, had for decades remained a docile enterprise. They had relied on the condescending promises of upper caste leadership and were content with invoking compassion and sense of fair play.
Paswan marked an important break from the passivity: a switch represented by the name Dalit Sena he chose for his organisation. Scheduled Castes in Bihar had until then seemed quite comfortable with being called Harijan or God’s children, a coinage discarded in favour of Dalit because of the militant connotation that the latter packs.
Yet, few would have expected Paswan to be the change agent when he, a first-generation graduate, approached Ramjeevan Singh, a well-regarded politician in Bihar for a ticket of Samyukta Socialist Party to contest the 1969 polls. A true Socialist and a gentleman to the core, Singh sniffed the potential and gave him the ticket for a reserved seat in Khagaria district. His choice was validated, with Paswan winning the election embarking on an achievement-studded career.