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India's food minister Paswan dies after weeks in hospital

Veteran Indian politician Ram Vilas Paswan, a federal minister and an ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling coalition, died on Thursday after weeks in hospital, his son Chirag Paswan said in a Tweet. He was 74. Paswan, India's Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, was admitted to a city hospital on Sept. 11 and underwent heart surgery on Oct. 4. In his role as food minister, Paswan oversaw the world's biggest food welfare programme. Under its multi-billion dollar food aid, the government gives ultra-cheap rice and wheat to India's millions of poor people. "I am saddened beyond words," Modi said in a Tweet reacting to news of his death. "There is a void in our nation that will perhaps never be filled."

News source ~ CNN