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Shrewd Politician, BJP's Dalit Face Ram Vilas Paswan to Head Ministry of Consumer Affairs in Modi 2.0 Cabinet

Paswan and his son Chirag took some time to come on board with the NDA after a disagreement over division of seats caused a rift.


Updated:May 31, 2019, 1:23 PM IST

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Ram Vilas Paswan, the cabinet minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, has been given charge of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

Although he did not contest elections in 2019 he had been assured of a Rajya Sabha seat by the BJP before the polls.

Paswan and his son Chirag took some time to come on board with the NDA after a disagreement over division of seats caused a rift. Paswan has always managed to ally with the winning party and snag a ministerial position in most coalition governments, whether it is led by the Congress or the BJP.

Paswan started his political career in 1969 as a member of Samyukta Socialist Party. He was elected as an MLA from the reserved constituency that year during which he came in contact with leaders such as Jayprakash Narayan and also took part in the anti-emergency movement. Paswan followed in the footsteps of Narayan and was subsequently appointed the general secretary of Lok Dal in 1974.

Paswan made his entry into the Lok Sabha in 1977 on the Janata Party ticket. He won elections from Hajipur constituency with a record margin and his name was registered in the Guinness Book of World Records. He won the subsequent elections of 1980, 1984, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2014.

He was the first Dalit leader to join NDA again. He earlier left the party after the 2002 Gujarat riots. The LJP leader is now the Dalit face of the Modi government. After being appointed as the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in the Modi cabinet, Paswan said his priority is to ensure efficiency in public distribution system and consolidate the functioning of the Food Corporation of India.

Paswan has served as a Union Minister under six Prime Ministers.

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