tal Bihari Vajpayee the former Prime Minister of India, Bharat Ratna and far-sighted architect of Modern India, passed away today.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was central to the formation and rise to power of the country’s largest political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Not just that, in his rule as the Prime Minister of the Republic of India he emerged as a reformer whose middle-of-the-road and very practical policies brought an outstanding economic growth.
He was born on 25th December 1924 at Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh to his father Krishna Bihari Vajpayee and mother Krishna Devi. He became a member of Parliament for the first time in the year 1957 and it brought with him a long parliamentary experience spanning over five decades in politics.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s involvement in politics began as a freedom fighter during the historic Quit India Movement of 1942-1945. He started his journey as a communist but later shed that after joining the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). As a teenager, Atal Bihari Vajpayee went to jail for opposing the British colonial rule. Interestingly, Atal Bihari Vajpayee flirted with communism before choosing to support the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Jan Sangh, both were the Nationalist organizations that later developed close links with the Bhartiya Janta Party(BJP). Atal Bihari Vajpayee became a follower and close aide of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee who was the founder of the Bhartiya Jana Sangh(BJS), which was also known as the BJP’s predecessor.
He won his first election to Loksabha in 1957. As a leader of BJS, Atal Bihari Vajpayee expanded its political appeal, organization & agenda. Inspite of his Young age, Atal Bihari Vajpayee soon became a respected voice of the opposition, even at the time taking head-on then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. His appeal brought immense respect, acceptance and the recognition to a rising nationalist cultural movement.
He was indeed a great statesman who was accepted by politicians across the spectrum of different ideologies. And he was the man who pulled BJP away from being untouchable due to its far rightest leaning stemming after the demolition of Babri Masjid, into a political party that allies could do business with and that ultimately lead to the formation of the NDA.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the Prime Minister of India thrice–First time in 1996 when he barely lasted in 13 days; the second term was better and starting in 1998 and lasting in 13 months. And Atal Bihari Vajpayee was reelected in the year 1999 at the head of country’s more stable coalition that completed its full 5-year term.
His tenure as the prime minister in the year 1998-99 was characterised as one year of courage of conviction. In this period India conducted a series of successful nuclear tests at Pokhran in May 1998.
In his tenure, Atal Bihari Vajpayee took bold initiatives and the most significant attempt was to bridge the India-Pakistan differences and for that, he traveled by bus to Lahore while putting his political future at stake for the sake of peace.
However, he could not implement some policies which were close to his heart. Among those policies were: Scrapping of the special status for Jammu and Kashmir, Building the Ram Temple on the Ram Janm Bhumi in Ayodhya and Adopting a uniform civil court.
The historic demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya by KarSewaks on 6th December 1992, When he was the leader of the opposition in Loksabha. When his trusted lieutenant Lal Krishna Advani and most of the BJP leaders supported the demolition of Babri Masjid but Atal Bihari Vajpayee condemned the attack unequivocally. Nobody could question his personal integrity throughout his life.
The biggest economic achievements were the National Highway Development Project, telecom sector, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and very famous Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. Vajpayee’s ability to carry the states on economic matters boosted the reforms initiatives.
Even in the hardest time when the world was facing the Global Financial Recession, His government managed to boost India’s economic growth with the rate of 5.8 Percent and was higher than the previous year’s. His economic bent was towards allowing private businesses more freedom to boost India’s overall growth.
Improving upon the slogan of then the prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave the nation a new one ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan Aur Jai Vigyan’ to the nation from the site of Pokhran Nuclear Tests conducted by India.
We pay our tribute to Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the nation lost a great visionary, a great statesman and an inspiring poet who worked throughout his life for the Better India