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Miss his presence greatly: Modi remembers ‘friend’ Ram Vilas Paswan

Paying tribute to Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) founder late Ram Vilas Paswan on his birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said he was missing his friend’s presence and remembered his contributions to public service in empowering the downtrodden.

Paswan passed away on October 8 last year. He was one of the tallest Dalit leaders and held the record of winning his constituency, Hajipur, with the highest margin for several years.

In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, “Today is the birth anniversary of my friend, Ram Vilas Paswan Ji. I miss his presence greatly. He was one of India’s most experienced Parliamentarians and administrators. His contributions to public service and empowering the downtrodden will always be remembered.”

Paswan was a minister in the V.P. Singh government and emerged as a key champion in the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations. He was also a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, the Manmohan Singh government and the Narendra Modi government.

Modi’s affection for Paswan seen at a time when Chirag earlier expressed his disappointment with the BJP for not standing by his side when he had expected their intervention during the ‘difficult’ times. The LJP leader has said that he was ‘hurt’ at the BJP’s silence while he battled his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras to retain the control of the party.

The battle for Paswan’s legacy is being played out as his son Chirag is involved in a tussle with uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, who was elected as LJP’s leader in the Lok Sabha by the five of party’s six MPs.

Both the factions have now moved to control the party and project their group as the real LJP, founded by Paswan.

While the wing led by Chirag has expelled the five MPs from the party, the rival group has removed him as its president.

A meeting of the LJP national executive last Sunday endorsed Chirag’s leadership and hit out at the faction headed by his paternal uncle for working against the party’s constitution.

Chirag, meanwhile, took out ‘Ashirwad Yatra’ on the occasion of Paswan’s birth anniversary to seek blessings of the people of Bihar. The yatra, in the form of a roadshow, started from Hajipur, represented by Paswan in the Lok Sabha eight times. Paras is currently the Lok Sabha MP from here.

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