Ram Vilas Paswan: From Modi baiter to Modi ministry

Ram Vilas Paswan: From Modi baiter to Modi ministry

Ram Vilas Paswan: From Modi baiter to Modi ministry

A dozen years after he attacked then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi over the 2002 riots and quit the NDA, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan Monday joined the cabinet in a Modi-led central government.

A Dalit leader, Paswan and RJD chief Lalu Prasad were widely seen as potential Congress allies in the Lok Sabha election. But in February he surprised everyone by aligning with the BJP to contest Lok Sabha polls.

Political activist Ashok Kumar Singh, who has known Paswan for four decades, said there was a time when Paswan was attracted to Maoism but he never embraced it.

After his graduation and before he completed his law degree, Paswan was all set to become a policeman but did not take up the job. He instead contested the 1969 Bihar assembly polls as the now defunct SSP candidate and won.

Paswan won the Lok Sabha polls from Hajipur in 1977 with a margin of 4.24 lakh votes - a record broken only by P.V. Narasimha Rao in 1991.

Becaming a union minister for the first time in 1989 in the V.P. Singh government, Paswan emerged as one of the most vocal supporters of the Mandal Commission recommendations.

He served as a minister in the United Front governments of H.D. Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral. Paswan was also a minister in the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the UPA-I government of Manmohan Singh.

Paswan was defeated in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls but was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2011 with the RJD's support.

In 2014, he won from his traditional Hajipur seat, thanks to the Modi wave.

His first wife Raj Kumari Devi lives in his native village Shaharbanni in Khagaria district. He later married again. His actor-turned-politician son Chirag Paswan also won the Lok Sabha polls -- from Jamui.

One of Paswan's brothers is an MP while another is a former legislator in Bihar.