The body of Union minister and Lok Janashakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan was taken to his residence in Delhi from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Friday. He died on Thursday at the age of 74.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh were among those who visited Paswan’s residence.
Earlier in the day, Paswan’s son, Chirag Paswan, and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan were among those at AIIMS, according to NDTV. The national flags at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and Parliament were flown at half-mast in memory of the minister.
The cremation will take place in Patna on Saturday. Home ministry officials said a state funeral will be accorded to Paswan and the national flag will fly at half-mast in Delhi and state capitals as a mark of respect.
Tributes on Twitter
Leaders across parties took to Twitter to pay their tributes to Paswan.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said Paswan’s absence will always be felt in Indian politics and the Union cabinet. “The Narendra Modi-led government will remain committed to fulfill his dreams of bettering the lives of the poor and the development of Bihar,” he tweeted. “I extend my condolences to his family and supporters.”
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed his grief over Paswan’s death. “I have been personally been saddened by the death of Union minister and popular politician Ram Vilas Paswan ji,” Kumar said. “His death is an irreparable loss to Indian politics. May his soul rest in peace.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also paid a tribute to Paswan. “Heartfelt condolences on the demise of Union Minister Shri Ram Vilas Paswan Ji,” he tweeted. “My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also expressed his grief. “The news of Ram Vilas Paswan’s untimely death is sad,” he tweeted. “The poor and Dalits have lost a strong political voice. I offer condolences to his family.”
His party colleague Sachin Pilot remembered Paswan’s contribution to the society. “I am extremely saddened to learn about the demise of political stalwart Shri Ram Vilas Paswan ji,” he said. “ His contribution towards the upliftment of the downtrodden will always be remembered. May his soul find eternal peace. My condolences to his family and followers.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was saddened by Paswan’s death. “He was a veteran politician, leader and a long-time Parliamentarian,” she tweeted. “My condolences to his family, colleagues and his many admirers.”
Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu also mourned Paswan’s death. “We have had a long association with public and parliamentary life… and many of their fond memories are still in my mind,” he tweeted “He [Paswan] was a strong voice of the weaker sections in his long and glorious political life.”
Paswan was the Cabinet Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in the Narendra Modi-led government. He was also the chief of the Lok Janshakti Party, which has a base in Bihar.
Paswan started his political career as a member of Samyukta Socialist Party and was elected to the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1969. Later, he joined Lok Dal in 1974, and became its general secretary. He entered the Lok Sabha in 1977, on a Janata Party ticket from the Hajipur constituency. He was re-elected in 1980, 1989, 1996 and 1998, 1999, 2004, and 2014.
In 2000, Paswan formed the Lok Janshakti Party, which is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre. However, his party had been part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance from 2004 to 2009. Under the UPA government, he served as the Minister of Chemicals, Fertilisers and Steel.