‘Voice of the oppressed’: PM, President and others mourn death of Ram Vilas Paswan

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, founder of the Lok Janshakti Party, passed away on Thursday evening.
Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan passed away on Thursday evening
Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan passed away on Thursday evening
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President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, were among those who condoled the demise of Union Minister and veteran leader Ram Vilas Paswan, saying he had an enviable rapport with the masses and ardently strove for their welfare.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet has been convened on Friday to express condolences over the minister's demise, officials said.

In his condolence message, President Kovind said in the death of Paswan, the nation has lost a visionary leader.

He was among the most active and longest-serving members of Parliament. He was the voice of the oppressed, and championed the cause of the marginalised, Kovind said.

Paswan died on Thursday, his son Chirag Paswan tweeted in the evening.

Paswan (74), who was the Lok Janshakti Party's patron, had undergone a heart surgery in hospital a few days ago.

In a series of tweets, Prime Minister Modi said working together, shoulder to shoulder with Paswan has been an incredible experience.

His interventions during Cabinet meetings were insightful. From political wisdom, statesmanship to governance issues, he was brilliant, Modi recalled.

In his condolence message, Vice President Naidu said Paswan was an exemplary leader who served the people and nation till his last breath.

He was a distinguished parliamentarian and always strove for the empowerment of the marginalised, Naidu said.

Expressing grief at the demise of Paswan, veteran BJP leader L K Advani on Thursday said he was a grassroots leader who championed the cause of upliftment of the poor and downtrodden. "Paswanji's passing away is indeed a big loss to the nation," the veteran BJP leader said.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi said, "A towering personality, who stood with the cause of social justice and empowerment of the most marginalised, Paswan will be forever remembered for asserting the cause of social and political equity."

Rahul Gandhi said the news of the untimely demise of Paswan is saddening.

The poor and the downtrodden have lost a strong political voice, he said on Twitter.

Senior BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah said, Ram Vilas Paswan ji always fought and worked for the downtrodden and the poor of the country. His demise has created a void in politics.

In his condolence message, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said that following the footsteps of Jai Prakash Narayan, he strengthened the socialist movement in the country.

From student politics to as an MP, he held various posts by upholding democratic values. His life was inspirational to us, he recalled.

Terming his cabinet colleague's death as a great personal loss, former Prime Minister, H D Deve Gowda tweeted, "I am deeply saddened by the demise of Union Minister and 8-term MP Shri. Ram Vilas Paswan ji. He was very dear to me and had worked as the Railways Minister in my cabinet. Losing a very senior leader like him is a great loss for our country."

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