25 January, 2021

Salad Days Again

Vajpayee is back with a bang. Should the party fret or fete him?

Tribhuvan Tiwari
Salad Days Again
One of the great talents of Atal Behari Vajpayee has always been his peculiar economy with words. He speaks rarely and when he does the words are carefully chosen, designed to confuse or clarify as he deems fit. Yet, ever since the Rahul Mahajan drug scandal hit the BJP, the former PM has been very voluble. With one statement—"young people make mistakes when they fall into bad company; we will bring Rahul back on track"—Vajpayee forced the BJP to change its strategy of distancing itself from the family of the slain leader Pramod Mahajan.

A few days later he spoke again on Rahul—by now several BJP leaders had visited him in jail. And when Mahajan junior was released on bail he picked up the cue at his first press conference: "After my father's death Atalji is the father to me. The BJP is my family." L.K. Advani, meanwhile, kept entirely aloof and did not utter a word on Rahul.

Besides the utterances on l'affaire Mahajan there was other unusual activity on the Vajpayee front. Soon after the scandal broke the venerable 81-year-old...


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