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It’s Vajpayee’s day also
Last Updated : 25 Dec 2018 03:06:15 PM IST
Atal Bihari Vajpayee (File photo)
Atal Bihari Vajpayee (File photo)


Nation remembers those who genuinely think and work for the people. Atal Bihari Vajpayee knew how to win hearts and that’s the reason the whole political spectrum irrespective of the political beliefs or lineage remembers him with a warm smile.

December 25th is the Christmas day. The tree and the Santa image is so well engrained in the minds but now there is an addition to this canvas and that is the image of the peace loving Atal Bihari Vajpayee, at least for the Indians.

The Modi government and the BJP have been working hard to give Vajpayee the due space befitting a great leader.  It is building memorials, statues, holding kavi sammelans and even has issued a 100 rupee coin. BJP has its reasons to do this but Vajpayee is beyond party lines now. He is one leader for whom admiration is in abundance.

Vajpayee gave several most remarkable moments for the nation. Among the best ones was the sincere move to bring peace in Kashmir. People in the valley remember him with fondness and consider him as the only genuine leader who wanted to bring peace in the valley.  It was during his rule that routes between the divided parts of Kashmir were opened up. Vajpayee tried his best to make friends with Pakistan by taking the bus to Lahore but Pakistan ended up with back stabbing him with Kargil war

Vajpayee is also best known for his accommodative nature. It was he who could manage the tough politics of Mamata Banerjee on one hand and Jayalalitha on the other hand. He had to face difficult time when AIADMK signed out of NDA in 1999.

The most challenging periods also brought the best in him. He turned the Kargil experiment back on Pakistan. He conducted the Pokhran nuke blast and held the country strongly against the plethora of sanctions by US and some other governments. Along with the best of times he had to face several difficult periods. The worst was the Kandhar hijacking which forced India to release three hard core terrorists, the terror attack on Parliament and the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Vajpayee, despite the low moments never lost cool and he did what was best known about him, work with consensus, understanding and forthrightness. His third tenure as prime minister saw a lot of economic activity in the country and the GDP growth exceeded seven percent. He was conscious of the problems that the farmers face year after year. That was the reason he propagated the interlinking of rivers.

Vajpayee’s political understanding was commendable; equally impressive was the way he played around with words and expressions. Vajpayee’s oratory skills are too well known and so are his writings. Vajpayee’s poems are iconic and have a life about them. He was in love with Hindi and became the first to make a speech in the language in United Nations General Assembly.

For many of his fellow politicians, workers and friends Vajpayee was no less than a Santa. For the masses he was a mass leader who amassed a lot of good feeling from them. A group of youngsters was busy wishing happy Christmas to each other when one of them said that it was Vajpayee birthday too. The group nodded and had smile on their face. Perhaps, this smile is what Vajpayee is all about now.  


Deepika Bhan
New Delhi
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