Press Trust of india

Prez, PM pay tributes to Ram Vilas Paswan

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New Delhi:  President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to Union minister and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan at his residence here on Friday.

Senior BJP leaders including Amit Shah, JP Nadda, Giriraj Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajnath Singh, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, also paid tributes to the departed leader.

Others who offered condolences and prayers at Paswan’s residence included BJP MPs Pragya Thakur and Ramesh Bidhuri, NCP President Sharad Pawar, Union minister Ramdas Athawale, RJD MP Misa Bharti and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.

Paswan, one of the most prominent Dalit leaders of the country who had been a part of several governments headed by rival parties, died on Thursday at the age of 74.

The Lok Janshakti Party founder and Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution was admitted to a private hospital here for several weeks and had recently undergone a heart operation.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet was convened on Friday to express condolences over the minister’s demise.

The Union Home Ministry has announced the national flag will fly at half mast in Delhi and capitals of all states and union territories on Friday as a mark of respect to Paswan.

A state funeral will also be accorded to the Union minister.

Paswan’s body will be flown to the party’s office in Patna in afternoon and cremation will take place there on Saturday.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the country has lost one of the greatest Dalit and socialist leaders in Ram Vilas Paswan.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi also paid his last tributes to the departed leader and visited the latter’s place.

Gandhi said Paswan raised voice for the most marginalised sections in society and left a lasting imprint on politics and public service in both Bihar and the country.

In a letter to Chirag Paswan, son of the late Union minister, Manmohan Singh described him as an important Dalit face in the central government.

“In his death our country has lost one of its greatest Dalit and socialist leaders, who always stood for the cause of the poor and downtrodden people of the society,” Singh said in his condolences.

“Ram Vilas Paswan ji was a very important Dalit face in the central government, of many parties. I have very warm recollections of my association with Shri Paswan ji as a member of the UPA Government which I led in 2004.

“The veteran socialist leader, Paswan ji was also a very efficient administrator who worked very closely with me as Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers, and also served as minister in various ministries,” the former PM said.

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