Pashupati Kumar Paras, MP from Hajipur, was inducted in the Narendra Modi-led government as cabinet minister and given the charge of the key Ministry of Food Processing Industries. The portfolio was earlier with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
The ministry has assumed more significance in the recent years as the government is focusing on raising the processing level of fruits and vegetables to reduce wastage. The central government is also developing several mega food parks across the country with an aim to create jobs and expand the market for processed food.
Paras, a politician with more than four decades of experience, has spent the larger part of his career under the shadow of his late brother and former Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan. However, having staged a successful revolt against Paswan’s son Chirag Paswan, the Lok Sabha MP from Bihar now seems poised to come into his own. Paras, who previously headed Lok Janshakti Party’s Bihar unit and is currently the national president of its breakaway faction, began his innings in 1978 as a Janata Party MLA from Alauli in his native Khagaria district, a seat formerly represented by the late Ram Vilas Paswan.
He represented the assembly segment several times, on tickets of the Janata Dal and later of the party floated by his brother. He became a member of the Nitish Kumar cabinet in the state in 2017 when the chief minister realigned with the NDA.
The 2019 Lok Sabha polls saw him making his parliamentary debut from Hajipur, a constituency the late Ram Vilas Paswan had nurtured over decades. The move was seen as indicative of the trust between the two brothers.