Ram Vilas Paswan, Union minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution passed away late on Thursday, son Chirag Paswan said. He recently underwent heart surgery in a Delhi hospital. Informing about his father’s death, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan tweeted on Thursday: “Papa …. Now you are not in this world but I know you are always with me wherever you are. Miss you Papa …” He has been hospitalised for the last few weeks. He has long suffered from a heart condition, according to reports. Paswan has served as a Union minister under five prime ministers and his party has been a member of all national coalitions. A ninth time Member of Parliament in Lok Sabha, Paswan was one of the country’s most noted Dalit leaders. He was born on 5 July, 1946 at Shaharbanni village in Khagaria, eastern Bihar. He completed a master’s and a law degree, passed the Bihar civil service examination, and was selected to be a deputy superintendent of police. But he did not accept the job. Instead, he joined politics. He began his political career as a member of Samyukta Socialist Party (SSP). Paswan became a member of Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1969. In 1970, he was made the joint secretary of the SSP’s Bihar branch. Four years later he became the general secretary of the Bihar branch of the new Lok Dal (People’s Party) after it had been formed through the merger of the SSP and other parties to present a more-effective opposition to Indian National Congress (INC).Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to the family. “Working together, shoulder to shoulder with Paswan Ji has been an incredible experience. His interventions during Cabinet Meetings were insightful. From political wisdom, statesmanship to governance issues, he was brilliant. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti,” he wrote on Twitter.