15 June, 2021

‘Atalji Never Said Anything Derogatory About Anyone’ | By Murli Manohar Joshi

Atal Behari Vajpayee never imposed his views but believed in democratic methods. That’s why he could carry a large number of people with him, writes Murli Manohar Joshi.

Photograph by Sanjay Rawat
‘Atalji Never Said Anything Derogatory About Anyone’ | By Murli Manohar Joshi

Atalji was an icon of reconciliation in politics and believed in harmonising varied viewpoints. His cabinet had ministers rep­­resenting all hues. If he had Sompal Singh vociferously pushing for agrarian reforms, he also had Arun Shourie, who was for complete privatisation. They were all happily working in the same cabinet. There were problems and debates, but Atalji believed in creating solutions. He did that without imposing his views on others, and trust me, he had strong views.

When the BJP lost the elections in 1984, reduced to two seats in Parliament under Atalji’s stewardship, he wanted to resign. He was criticised outside and within the party for being too soft, and especially came under fire for following Gandhian socialism. It was one of the five principles that the party followed, which included positive secularism, value-based politics, cultural nationalism and democracy. The...

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