New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Friday offered condolences on the death of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who died on Thursday evening at the age of 74.
The Minister died days after undergoing a heart surgery.
The Cabinet also observed silence for two minutes in the memory of Paswan and decided that the towering Dalit leader will be accorded a state funeral.
In a statement, the Cabinet expressed "profound sorrow at the sad demise of Ram Vilas Paswan. In his passing away, the nation has lost an eminent leader, a distinguished parliamentarian and an able administrator."
Ram VIlas Paswan was born on July 5, 1946 at Shaharbanni village in Khagaria district of Bihar.
He was educated at Kosi College, Khagaria and Patna University. He obtained degrees in Master of Arts (M.A.) and Bachelor of Law (LL.B). He was also conferred the Degree of D.Litt. (Honoris Causa) by Bundelkhand University in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh.
Ram Vilas was one of the most popular leaders from Bihar and enjoyed strong mass support. He was elected to the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1969 as a member of the Samyukta Socialist Party. Thereafter, he was elected a member of the sixth Lok Sabha from Hajipur constituency in 1977 by a record margin.
Ram Vilas Paswan was re-elected to the seventh Lok Sabha in 1980 and the eighth Lok Sabha in 1984. He was re-elected to the 9th Lok Sabha in 1989 and was appointed Union Minister for Labour and Welfare. In 1996, he became Minister for Railways and continued to hold the post till 1998. Thereafter, he served as Minister for Communications from October, 1999 to September, 2001 when he was made Minister of Coal and Mines, the portfolio he held till April, 2002.
After the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the LJP founder joined the United Progressive Alliance government and was made Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Minister of Steel. He was elected to the 16th Lok Sabha in 2014 and served as Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
In 2019, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha and continued as Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. The Cabinet said that he was the voice of the "oppressed" and always championed the cause of the marginalised sections of society.
The Cabinet also extended its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family on behalf of the government and the entire nation.