Shiv Sena said former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a true ‘swayamsevak’ (volunteer) of the RSS who mixed with the organisation’s ideology like “sugar dissolves in milk” and his Hinduta ideology was never hidden.
An editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana also said Vajpayee honestly tried to build relations with Pakistan, but even a gentleman like him was betrayed by the neighbouring nation.
It further recalled that Vajpayee once said in the US that he may not be the prime minister tomorrow, but nobody could take away his right of being a swayamsevak, referring to his association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Vajpayee’s Hindutva ideology was never hidden, the Sena said.
Except for Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, nobody else was ready to support his Hindutva ideology and as a result, he had to keep issues like Ram temple and uniform civil code aside, it said.
Vajpayee died on Thursday at the age of 93 after a prolonged illness.
Referring to a Goa speech made by Vajpayee in 2002, the Sena said he tried hard to bring Muslims into the mainstream but his patience ran out.
Terming Vajpayee’s death as end of an era, the BJP’s long-standing ally said that after Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Vajpayee was the most famous personality.
Crediting Vajpayee for formation of the National Democratic Alliance, the editorial said that it was because of him that “people with different mindsets and different faces” came together and formed the alliance.
As prime minister, Vajpayee built trust among farmers and increased their agricultural produce, it said. “Seeing the condition of farmers today, and a wave of their suicides, one remembers Vajpayee’s pro-farmer policies,” it added.