24 September, 2020

The Enigma Of Silence

Tired, distracted, ailing. Words routinely used for the prime minister these days. But is that really the case?

The Enigma Of Silence

STATESMAN-like countenance or camera shy? An obsessively hardworking prime minister or a beleaguered one? In a career spanning over four decades of public life, Atal Behari Vajpayee has been the quintessential people's man, a politician who has not thought twice about stopping and chatting up his constituents or strolling down the corridors of Parliament House holding impromptu press conferences, mixing around well with the hoi polloi, always willing to share a joke. In short, the perfect communicator.

Five months into power as prime minister, giving the country a familiar dose of coalition politics and the pattern of things to come with ambitious allies testing his patience no end, the situation seems to have altered. A man who can count numerous veteran journalists as his personal friends, Vajpayee's critics say he is the first prime minister who has to date not held a press conference in the manner of several heads of the government in the past. His appearances in public have decreased significantly. He has stopped the practice of...



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