New Delhi [India], October 8 (ANI): A towering personality, who stood with the cause of social justice and empowerment of the most marginalized, "Shri Ram Vilas Paswan will be forever remembered for asserting the cause of social and political equity, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said, expressing her "deepest condolences" on the passing away of the Union minister on Thursday.
Union Minister and founder of Lok Janshakti Party Ram Vilas Paswan passed away on Thursday. The 74-year-old minister was suffering from a heart ailment and recently had surgery.
"I remember his long association as an ally and as a competent and dynamic minister of the UPA.
My thoughts are with his wife, Chirag (son) and all the family members, friends and followers in this moment of loss and grief," Sonia said in a statement.
Her son Rahul Gandhi reiterated on Twitter: "The news of the untimely demise of Ram Vilas Paswanji is painful. The poor and Dalit sections of the society have lost their major political voice today. My condolences to his family members."
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said they shared a special bond with the Paswan family. "Ram Vilas Paswanji was a neighbour of my mother for years and we shared a special relationship with his family. I am saddened at the news of his death. My deepest condolences to Chiragji and his family. We stand by you in these solemn times," she tweeted.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal also prayed for the departed soul.
"Sorry to learn of the passing away of a valued colleague and friend Ram Vilas Paswan. My heartfelt condolences to @iChiragPaswan and the family. May his soul rest in peace," he tweeted.
Ram Vilas Paswan was Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in the Narendra Modi government. He was also a minister in the previous NDA government.
Paswan was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977 on a Janata Party ticket from Hajipur in Bihar. (ANI)