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“हार नहीं मानूँगा, रार नहीं ठानूँगा ।
काल के कपाल पे लिखता मिटाता हूँ,
गीत नया गाता हूँ ।”
“I shall never accept defeat. I shall be ever-ready for a new battle; I am he who erases old things and writes new things on the forehead of the times; I sing a new song”.
-Atal Bihari Vajpayee

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee has served as a member of the Indian parliament for almost 50 years. After Jawaharlal Nehru’s tenure, Vajpayee is the only other Prime Minister to have held his office for three consecutive times.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on 25th December 1924 in a middle-class Brahmin family, in Gwalior. Vajpayee attended Gwalior’s Victoria College and graduated with a distinction in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. He completed his post-graduation with an M.A. in political sciences from Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College in Kanpur. He was awarded a first-class degree. He joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a swayamsevak in 1939 and became a Pracharak. He participated in the Quit India movement in 1942 and went to prison.

He became a journalist and the Founder-Editor of ‘Panchjanya’, a national weekly. During this time he came in contact with Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya. He was advised by the R.S.S. to work for the newly formed Bharatiya Jana Sangh. In 1957, Vajpayee was elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament, from Balrampur. His oratorical skills impressed Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru so much that he had predicted that Vajpayee would someday become India’s Prime Minister. By virtue of his oratorical and organizational skills, he became the face of the Jana Sangh.

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During the period of 1975 to 1977, Vajpayee was arrested along with several other opposition leaders during the Internal Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1977, heeding the call of the social reformer Jayaprakash Narayan for all the opposition parties to unite against the Indian National Congress, Vajpayee merged the Jana Sangh into the newly formed grand-alliance, the Janata Party. He served as the minister of external affairs. After the fall of the Janata Party, Bhartiya Jana Sangh crumbled. Vajpayee joined many of his Bharatiya Jana Sangh and Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh’s colleagues, particularly his long-time friends L. K. Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, to form the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980. At the BJP’s first plenary session in Bombay, Vajpayee remarked “अंधेरा छटेगा, सूरज निकलेगा और कमल ख्लेगा” (Darkness will be dispelled, the sun will rise and the lotus shall bloom).Until then Vajpayee had established himself as an experienced statesman and a respected political leader. In 1992, Vajpayee was conferred with the Padma Vibhushan for the recognition of his services to the nation.
abBJP became the political voice of the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir Movement. Victory in the assembly elections in Gujarat and Maharashtra in March 1995, and a good performance in the elections to the Karnataka assembly in December 1994, propelled the BJP to greater political prominence. During a BJP conference in Mumbai in 1995, BJP President L.K. Advani declared that Vajpayee would become the Prime Minister of India. The BJP won in the May 1996 parliamentary elections.
In the 1996 general elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha. Vajpayee was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister of India, but the BJP failed to muster enough support from other parties to obtain the majority. He resigned after 13 days, when it became clear that he could not garner the majority. The 1998 general elections again put the BJP ahead of others. This time, a cohesive bloc of political parties joined the BJP to form the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and Vajpayee was sworn in as the Prime Minister.
As a Prime Minister he strategically took an extremely important and courageous decision in to make India a nuclear power and conducted nuclear tests even in the face of opposition from several world powers. Under his leadership, India successfully overcame the sanctions imposed by certain big powers.
atal bus yatraHe made earnest efforts to normalise relations with Pakistan, beginning with his historic ‘Bus Yatra’ to Lahore in February 1999. However, when Pakistan betrayed his trust, India’s Armed Forces, under his resolute leadership, defeated Pakistan in the Kargil War in 1999.
He had made a sincere effort to marginalise militancy and separatism Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and to bring peace and normalcy in the state. Under his leadership, free and fair elections were held in J&K for the first time after many decades.

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It was under his regime that both the houses of parliament had a joint historic session to pass the Prevention of Terrorism Activities Act (POTA) and thereby gave a strong signal to anti-national forces. He had a remarkable ability to reach out to those who were otherwise known for being stubborn and unrelenting.
He unveiled the National Highway Development Project (NHDP) to construct world-class highways in India.
He also initiated the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), with the goal of connecting all the villages and hamlets in India with good all-weather roads. It is the largest project in rural connectivity since independence.
Harmony remains the hallmark of the ‘Good Governance’ regime of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. As the Prime Minister, he ensured harmonious relations between the center and the states through a carefully cultivated mutuality of confidence.

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Besides physical connectivity, his government took bold steps to build digital connectivity in the country. It ushered reform-oriented telecom and IT policies which boosted mobile and internet services and also helped make India a ‘software superpower’.
His government started the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, which is India’s flagship programme for the achievement of elementary education for all.
The NDA was widely expected to retain power after the 2004 general elections. BJP launched the ‘Shining India’ Campaign.

However, NDA lost the elections and Congress led UPA came to power. Vajpayee resigned as the Prime Minister and promised co-operation to the new government. Accepting moral responsibility for the defeat, he decided not to take up the position of the leader of the Opposition.
In December 2005, Vajpayee announced his retirement from active politics, declaring that he would not contest in the next general elections. Vajpayee was referred to as the Bhishma Pitamah of Indian politics by former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his speech in the Rajya Sabha. Vajpayee is the only parliamentarian in India to be elected from four different States — UP, Gujarat, MP and Delhi. He was elected to the Parliament from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh for consecutively five times.
Vajpayee ran a giant and inclusive 22-party coalition for six years with considerably greater ease than Manmohan Singh or Sonia Gandhi have managed (with fewer allies) in either UPA 1 or UPA 2. For the UPA, coalition politics is only a ruse to justify various acts of faulty governance. Vajpayee’s NDA, on the other hand, pushed through several tough reforms which benefited UPA 1 by delivering rapid growth. In a 2013 poll, for the first time, Vajpayee had overtaken Indira Gandhi as the most preferred Indian Prime Minister of all times. He is also to be conferred with the country’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna for 2014 on recommendation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the President, Pranab Mukherjee.

In December 2014, Narendra Modi decided to celebrate Vajpayee’s birthday as “सुशासन दिवस” (Good Governance Day).

On the eve of his Birthday Modi Government has finally decided to accord him with the highest honour for a statesman – Bharat Ratna.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was one of the greatest leaders India has ever had.
“Andhere mei ek chingaari, Atal Bihari”

 

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee: A Statesman with a Poetic Soul
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Kartikey Misra

A student of law, co-founder eltrivate, Individualist, Narcissist. Totally believes in Nationalism. Has an interest in politics, history, religion, literature and international relations. Loves to hunt pseudo liberals and pseudo seculars.

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