Ram Vilas Paswan was born in a Dalit family in 1946 in Bihar. Paswan hails from Shaharbanni village in Khagaria district of Bihar. He was born to a scheduled-caste family. He married Rajkumari Devi in 1960s. In 2014 he disclosed that he had divorced her in 1981, after his Lok Sabha nomination papers were challenged. He has two daughters from first wife, Usha, and Asha. In 1983, he married Reena Sharma, an air hostess and a Punjabi Hindu from Amritsar. They have a son and a daughter. His son Chirag Paswan is an actor-turned-politician.
Paswan was elected to the Bihar state legislative assembly in 1969 as a member of the Samyukta Socialist Party (“United Socialist Party”) from a reserved constituency. In 1974, as an ardent follower of Raj Narain and Jayaprakash Narayan Paswan became the general secretary of the Lok Dal.
He parted ways with Morarji Desai and joined Janata Party-S led by Lokbandhu Raj Narain as party’s president and later as its Chairman. In 1975, when emergency was proclaimed in India, he was arrested and spent the entire period in jail. On being released in 1977, he became a member of the Janata Dal and won election to Parliament for the first time on its ticket, and he held the world record for winning the election by highest margin.
He was the Union Communication Minister from October 1999 to September 2001 when he was shifted to the Coal Ministry, the portfolio he held till April 2002.
In 2000 Paswan broke from the Janata Dal, to form the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). Following the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Paswan joined the United Progressive Alliance government and was made the Union Minister in Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Ministry of Steel.
He won the 2004 Lok Sabha elections but lost the 2009 elections. After being a member of a Rajya Sabha member from 2010 to 2014, he was elected again to the 16th Lok Sabha in the 2014 Indian general election from Hajipur constituency. Currently, he is serving the country as Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.