This time, Paswan will work under sixth PM

This time, Paswan will work under sixth PM

This time, Paswan will work under sixth PM

The new Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ram Vilas Paswan may not be too happy on getting a low-profile job, but given the mandate Narendra Modi received, he has no choice.

However, Paswan can find comfort in the fact that he is the only Cabinet minister in the Modi team to have served under five different prime ministers since 1989.

Modi is the sixth prime minister under whom he is working as Cabinet minister. (Unlike some of his erstwhile Janata Party colleagues, Paswan has never served as a Minister of State.)

Paswan won with a record margin from Hajipur in 1977 and again in 1989. His first stint as Union Cabinet minister was when V P Singh appointed him as labour and employment minister in December 1989. In the shortlived regime, Paswan hogged the limelight when he became instrumental in implementing the Mandal Commission report in August 1990.

He got much acclaim as railway minister in the equally shortlived Deve Gowda and I K Gujral governments.

Later, Paswan joined the NDA bandwagon and became communications minister in the A B Vajpayee regime in 2001.

However, he was shown the door after his alleged lacklustre performance in the fast-growing, high-profile ministry. From Sanchar Bhavan, he was shifted to the less glamorous coal ministry.

It was actually because of this “insult” that Paswan quit as coal minister in 2002. However, he portrayed himself as a martyr who gave up his ministerial berth to protest against the Godhra riots.

A political chameleon, he joined UPA-I where he bagged important ministries like steel, chemicals and fertilisers.

After losing the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Hajipur, Paswan again crossed over the fence and entered into a pre-poll alliance with the BJP in 2014.

Tasting victory along with five other LJP nominees, including his son Chirag, Paswan was the natural choice for a Cabinet berth from the LJP quota.

However, unlike previous occasions (of fractured verdicts), this time he could not dictate terms in his choice of ministry.

1989-90: Paswan served under VP Singh as Labour and Employment Minister.

1996-97: Was Deve Gowda’s Railway Minister.

1997-98: Continued as Railway Minister under IK Gujral.

2001-02: Worked under Vajpayee as Communications and then Coal Minister.

2004-09: Was Steel, Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister in Manmohan Singh Cabinet.

2014: Made Food and Civil Supplies Minister in Narendra Modi regime.