Congratulations to Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji for Bharat Ratna Award. I’m praying for his long life and I think everybody should pray for him. Finally, he was conferred with Bharat Ratna, which was due from last 10 years. Congress led UPA government should have conferred this in their regime, but it was not happened then because of political rivalry. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee received the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, by President Pranab Mukherjee at the former’s residence in New Delhi. A host of leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior leaders of the BJP were present at the ceremony.
Vajpayee, a three-time Prime Minister, was the first non-Congress leader to serve a full five-year term from 1999 to 2004. In December 2005, Vajpayee announced his retirement from active politics, declaring that he would not contest in the next general election. In a famous statement at the BJP’s silver Jubilee rally at Mumbai’s historic Shivaji Park, Vajpayee announced that “Henceforth, Lal Krishna Advani and Pramod Mahajan will be the Ram-Laxman (the two godly brothers much revered and worshipped by Hindus) of the BJP. Pramod Mahajan was one of the second generation leaders of BJP and, at the time of his death, was locked in a power struggle over who would take over the reins of the BJP when the current aging leadership retires.
He belonged to a group of relatively young “technocrat” leaders who lack a grassroots political base. Mahajan was popular in his home state of Maharashtra. He was the brain behind the BJP campaign in 2004 elections and accepted the responsibility of losing the election. Mahajan was blamed for moving his party away from the culture of austerity to a “five-star” culture. His proximity to industrialists was also a cause for it. As a minister in charge of telecommunications between 2001 and 2003, he played a major role in India’s cellular revolution, but was also accused of improperly favouring Reliance Infocomm. He was widely seen as a successful Parliamentary Affairs Minister due to his good relations with political parties across the ideological spectrum. In 2006, he was shot at and fatally injured by his brother Pravin Mahajan over a family dispute. He succumbed to his wounds 13 days later. Pravin was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment by the court in 2007. Subsequently, Pravin died of brain haemorrhage in 2010.
In 2014, L K Advani was dropped from the BJP Parliamentary Board and included in the Marg Darshak Mandal of the BJP along with Murli Manohar Joshi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. So, the Ram Laxman of BJP along with Rama are forgotten by the present vanar sena of party. All legendary leaders who were the founder members were asked to retire.
Vajpayeeji’s health is a major concern and his close relatives say that he often fails to recognise people and is confined on the wheelchair. He is said to be suffering from dementia and long-term diabetes. He is not known to have attended any public event in recent years. He rarely ventures out of the house, except for checkups at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. If he would have been healthy and hearty, probably his fate too would be like Advani and Joshi. However, thank god, he escaped from this humiliation and quit politics with grace and dignity. Vajpayee was referred as the Bhishma Pitamah of Indian Politics by then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his speech in the Rajya Sabha.
Thanks for the President for visiting Vajpayeeji’s home to confer this award setting aside protocol. Congratulations to former Prime Minister of India for receiving Bharat Ratna. Atal Bihari Vajpayee is truly an International icon in showing the way of peace for Pakistan by holding talks but also making security the most priority issue to his government by not stepping back conducting nuclear tests and give a fitting reply to neighbours when they cross line. He is a great statesman, a great orator and a practical politician. He is one leader, who is loved even by the people who did not vote for his party. However, it is very sad to see that the current BJP leaders have not even learned a lesson from this great man.
I remember, Vajpayee has said about his poetry, “My poetry is a declaration of war, not an exordium to defeat. It is not the defeated soldier’s drumbeat of despair, but the fighting warrior’s will to win. It is not the dispirited voice of dejection but the stirring shout of victory.”
Heartiest congratulations to such a beloved leader of this country from my side and my team of Afternoon Voice.