The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fitness freak raises a flutter
- Stressed-out paswan gets mild heart attack

New Delhi/Patna, July 2: The possible strain of a daughter’s wedding and a party membership drive sent Ram Vilas Paswan to hospital today with what looked like a mild heart attack.

The 59-year-old Union chemicals and fertilisers minister, a fitness freak, landed up at Patna’s Heart Hospital in the morning complaining of chest pain and uneasiness. He was shifted to Escorts, Delhi, in the afternoon.

“We are yet to diagnose the real problem. He may have suffered a mild heart attack although his ECG is normal,” cardiologist A.K. Thakur said in Patna. “It could also be a simple acidity problem. His condition is stable and there is nothing to worry.”

Paswan seemed normal and freely spoke to his friends and family at the Patna hospital, sources said.

The health-conscious Lok Janshakti Party chief religiously goes through his daily round of yoga, some other exercises and jogging on the lawns of his 12 Janpath residence.

But he had had a late night, attending a function at Anjuman Islamia Institute for the release of a postal stamp in memory of nationalist leader Abdul Qaiyum Ansari. Also, his party had kicked off a membership drive yesterday, and he would have been busy with it over the past few days.

The month-long preparation for the marriage of daughter Nisha in Delhi last week ' an event that drew 8,000 guests, including the who’s who of the country’s political establishment ' would have stressed him out.

The June 23 reception was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and several cabinet colleagues, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her daughter Priyanka and son-in-law Robert Vadra, Paswan’s arch-rival Laloo Prasad Yadav, BJP chief L.K. Advani and NDA convener George Fernandes. The party was followed by another reception at Patna.

Whatever the fatigue from it all, Paswan could not have allowed himself much rest. Another state election is round the corner, perhaps in October-November, just months after the strenuous campaigning for the February polls that threw up a hung House.

The new election was brought on by the one event that perhaps did the most to increase Paswan’s stress level ' most of his legislators defected, turning him from kingmaker to the February polls’ worst loser almost overnight.

The doctors treating Paswan did not mention the possible reasons behind his illness.

“His condition is stable. Our doctors have begun investigations. He had complained of chest pain,” was all Naresh Trehan said at Escorts. Earlier, an Escorts doctor had flown to Patna to treat Paswan and returned to Delhi with him.

“We are allowing the patient to go to New Delhi at the request of his family members,” Thakur had said in Patna.

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