India’s Tricolour Flies at Half-Mast as Tribute to Iconic Leader From Bihar Ram Vilas Paswan
AFP 2020 / PRAKASH SINGHIndia07:24 GMT 09.10.2020(updated 09:53 GMT 09.10.2020) Get short URL1
Belonging to Bihar’s Paswan community, the visionary turned away from a job in the state police to enter politics. One of his last major announcements was the rollout of the “One Nation, One Ration” card in all states by the end of March 2021. The scheme enables people to take their food grain quota from any ration shop in the country.
Ram Vilas Paswan had parted ways with the governing Bharatiya Janata Party in 2002 over then-Gujarat state chief Narendra Modi’s alleged complicity in Hindu-Muslim riots. However, he re-joined the BJP-led coalition in 2014 and was appointed as a federal minister in PM Modi’s cabinet.
India’s national flag is flying at half-mast across the capital cities of states and union territories on Friday, as the nation mourns the demise of the socialist icon from Bihar who worked as federal minister with six different prime ministers.
The 74-year-old leader, who founded the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) in 2000 to give a voice to the most downtrodden people in the country, the Dalit community, will be cremated on Saturday.
“It has also been decided that a state funeral will be accorded to the departed dignitary,” a government statement said.
Before his death he was serving as federal minister for Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution.
He breathed his last late Thursday, days after heart surgery and renal failure at a Delhi hospital.
The news of his death was revealed by his son Chirag Paswan, who leads his party LJP, on Thursday via Twitter.
Meanwhile, tributes have been pouring in from across the country on Twitter. Having been an eight-term parliamentarian, he held federal cabinet positions in governments led by both Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during his political career.
In his tribute, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind described Paswan as a “visionary leader”.
Prime Minister Modi described him as an “outstanding parliamentarian” who resisted “tyranny”.
Sonia Gandhi, the chief of India’s main opposition party Congress, called Paswan a “towering leader” who stood for the cause of justice for the most marginalised people”.
Some social media users also remembered Paswan’s contribution to fighting the left-wing extremist movement Naxal in his home state of Bihar in the 1990s.