Ram Vilas Paswan is called the “Mausam Vigyanik” (weatherman) of Indian politics
LJP leader and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan passed away on Thursday at a Delhi hospital. The 74-year-old leader was the founder of Lok Jan Shakti Party. He was one of the most prominent Dalit leaders in the country who was very accessible for his supporters. People residing in his favourite Lok Sabha constituency, Hajipur say that Ram Vilas Paswan used to welcome them at his residence in New Delhi and help them as much as he could.
Paswan was one of the greatest sons of Bihar, a colossus among Scheduled Caste leaders and a giant among the top few politicians of the country who overrode the politics of Bihar and the nation for almost 50 years. His passing has created a void which would be very difficult to fill.
Paswan political career
The stalwart leader started his political career as a member of Samyukta Socialist Party in the 70s and was elected to the Bihar Legislative Assembly. Later, he joined Lok Dal in 1974 and then Janata Party. He successfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from the Hajipur constituency in 1977. He was re-elected for the seat in 1980, 1989, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2014.
Paswan was a powerful force as a Dalit leader who deeply influenced the electoral politics of Bihar. He did not only champion the cause of Dalits but also took their political aspirations to the national level. He had a strong hold among the Scheduled Castes, especially the Dusadh Community of Bihar.
Of the trio of Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan, the latter had enjoyed power at the centre as senior-most member of the Union cabinet for almost 30 years. However, the dream of becoming CM of Bihar, which he nourished since he joined politics could not be fulfilled.
Paswan, a key player in the formation of the government
Paswan, known for his political astuteness, had been a key player in the government formation at the central level. He was so adept in making political negotiations that he was a part of many different coalition governments at the centre – Modi-led National Democratic Alliance, Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, the United Front of non-BJP and non-Congress parties, and the National Front.
In 1997, he was once considered for the post of Prime Minister when the Congress brought down the Deve Gowda government. However, the IK Gujral was chosen as the PM, who was then the external affairs minister.
Ram Vilas Paswan held key ministries at the Centre including the VP Singh government – communication and information technology, railway, chemical and fertilizers, consumer affairs, food and public distribution, labour and welfare, coal and mines.
Paswan is referred as ‘Mausam Vigyani’ (weatherman) of the politics in India due to his reported abilities to sense the mood of the electorate and navigate his ways into an alliance which will form the government after the elections.
Here are 5 instances when Ram Vilas Paswan predicted the right weather of Indian politics.
1. LJP first jumped into the electoral politics in 2004 Lok Sabha polls. Ram Vilas Paswan joined the alliance of Rashtriya Janata Dal led by Lalu Prasad Yadav and Congress as a part of the UPA. The alliance won 33 out of 40 seats in the 2004 general election in the divided Bihar.
2. Soon, things went downhill with the Lalu Prasad Yadav and LJP decided to go solo in the Assembly election in November 2005. Although the party could only win 10 seats, it ensured RJD’s defeat in at least 40 seats. It paved way for NDA alliance led by Nitish Kumar to form the government.
3. When many political pundits predicted the return of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the 2004 general elections, Ram Vilas joined UPA predicting a win for them. The Congress won 2004 general elections and hence, Ram Vilas Paswan got another pre-poll alliance right. He was made Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
4. Before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Paswan waited for 2 months for the Congress to seal a pre-poll alliance. The self-proclaimed champion of secularism, who once quit the union cabinet in 2002 after Godhra riots, suddenly found nothing wrong with BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. He joined hands with the NDA and again found a place in the Union Council of ministers.
5. He kept the alliance going in 2019 general elections, staying with Modi’s NDA. Although, he left the Hajipur seat for his younger brother Pashupati Kumar Paras, he became the Rajya Sabha MP.
Have a news story, an interesting write-up or simply a suggestion? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org