Alvida Atal: India loses a gleaming ratna

New Delhi (NM Bureau): Iconic Indian leader and three time prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee breathed his last on Thursday in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Vajpayee was known for his cultural moderation, liberalism and political reasonableness. He became the Prime Minister of India thrice. It was during his tenure that India successfully conducted nuclear tests at Pokhran and renewed hopes for peace between India and Pakistan emerged with the start of the New Delhi-Lahore bus service. His government has been till date the only non-Congress government to stay in power for five years. Besides being a seasoned politician and outstanding parliamentarian, Atal Bihari Vajpayee is also a renowned poet and a highly popular personality across the political spectrum.


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The Narendra Modi Government had announced the conferment of Bharat Ratna on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. His birthday on 25 December has been declared as ‘Good Governance Day’. Famous for his oratorical skills, Vajpayee now leads a retired and reclusive life due to ill-health.


Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born in a middle-class Brahmin family to Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee on 25 December, 1924 in Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh). His father was a poet and a school teacher. Vajpayee did his schooling from the Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Gwalior. Later, he studied at Victoria College, Gwalior – now Laxmi Bai College, for his graduation. It was at Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College, Kanpur that Vajpayee completed his post-graduation in Political Science.

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Joining as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker in 1939, Vajpayee became a pracharak (full-time worker) in 1947. He also worked for Rashtradharma Hindi monthly, Panchjanya Hindi weekly and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun. Vajpayee chose to stay bachelor for whole life.

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee began his career in politics as a freedom fighter. Later he joined the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), a Hindu right-wing political party, under the leadership of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee. He became national secretary of BJS in charge of the Northern region.

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As the new leader of BJS, Vajpayee was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1957 from Balrampur. He rose to become the national president of the Jana Sangh in 1968. Supported by his colleagues Nanaji Deshmukh, Balraj Madhok and L K Advani, Vajpayee took the Jana Sangh to greater glory.


Atal Bihari Vajpayee participated in the Total Revolution movement launched by Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) against the Internal Emergency imposed by then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975. In 1977, Jana Sangh became a part of the Janata Party, the grand-alliance against the Indira Gandhi government.


Atal Bihari Vajpayee became a Union Minister in 1977 when Morarji Desai-led Janata Party coalition came to power for the first time. He became the Minister of External Affairs. As foreign minister, Vajpayee became the first person to deliver a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi. His career as a minister was short-lived as he resigned from his post following the resignation of Morarji Desai in 1979. But by then, Vajpayee had established himself as a political leader.


Vajpayee along with Lal Krishna Advani, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and others from the BJS and Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS) formed the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980. He became a strong critic of the Congress (I) government that followed the fall of Janata Party government.


Vajpayee did not support Operation Blue Star and raised his voice against the anti-Sikh violence after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 by two of her Sikh bodyguards.


The BJP won two parliamentary seats in the 1984 elections. Vajpayee functioned as BJP President and Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament. Known for his liberal views, Vajpayee bemoaned the demolition of the Babri Mosque on 6 December, 1992 and declared it as the BJP’s “worst miscalculation”.


Vajpayee was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister of India following the 1996 General Elections, where the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha. However, the government collapsed after only 13 days after his government could not gather support from other parties to obtain a majority. He thus became the shortest serving Prime Minister in India.


The BJP-led coalition government came back to power as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 1998. Vajpayee was again sworn in as the Prime Minister. Vajpayee’s second term as PM is known for Nuclear tests conducted at Pokhran desert in Rajasthan, in May 1998. Vajpayee also pushed for peace process with Pakistan. He inaugurated the historic Delhi-Lahore bus service in February 1999. He also pitched for resolving the Kashmir dispute and other conflicts with Pakistan. But Pakistan ditched India by launching Kargil War, wherein Pakistani soldiers infiltrated into the Kashmir Valley and captured border hilltops around the town of Kargil.


Indian army units, under Operation Vijay, fought Pakistani intruders braving heavy artillery shelling amidst extremely cold weather, and treacherous hilly terrain, and ultimately emerged victorious. However, Vajpayee’s government lasted 13 months when the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) withdrew its support to the government in mid-1999.


In the following election, however, the NDA came back with full majority and Vajpayee was able to complete five years (1999-2004) in office as a non-Congress PM for the first time. Atal Bihari Vajpayee took oath as Prime Minister of India for the third time on 13 October 1999.


However, his third term also saw India yielding to terrorists when in December 1999, Indian Airlines flight IC 814 from Kathmandu to New Delhi was hijacked and taken to Kandahar, Afghanistan. The government had to release dread terrorists including Maulana Masood Azhar from prison to secure the freedom of passengers. On the brighter side, the Vajpayee government introduced many economic and infrastructural reforms, including encouraging the private sector and foreign investments. It also undertook National Highway Development Projects and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. Vajpayee adopted pro-business, free-market reforms approach to boost India’s economic development.


In March 2000, Vajpayee signed the Historic Vision Document during the visit of the then US President Bill Clinton. The Declaration incorporated several strategic issues, apart from pitching for expansion in trade and economic ties between the two countries. Atal Bihari Vajpayee again tried for peace with Pakistan during the Agra summit with the then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, but the talks failed to achieve any breakthrough as Musharraf declined to leave aside the Kashmir issue. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime also witnessed an attack on Indian Parliament on 13 December 2001, when Pakistan-supported terrorists stormed the Parliament building in Delhi. They were ultimately foiled in their attempts by the Indian security forces. Vajpayee as PM was pained when communal riots broke out in Gujarat in 2002 after the Godhra train tragedy.


The 2004 General Election brought about the downfall of the NDA, which lost almost half its seats and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) assumed the reins of power. Vajpayee refused to take up the position of the Leader of the Opposition paving the way for Lal Krishna Advani’s leadership of BJP. He lived a secluded life in ill health after his political retirement. Vajpayee will always be remembered as a poet and politician who led the country by his grit and determination. 

Narendra Mod

Will win 2019 polls: Prime Minister Modi

New Delhi (NM Bureau): Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his strong confidence in his party with BJP along with the NDA alliance winning the 2019 General Election with the thumping majority. Prime Minister Modi was quoted this in an email interview with the English national daily Times of India. Modi in his interview also snubbed the opposition alliance as a failed idea.

“We will definitely get more seats than we got the last time and I am confident that we will break all records of seats won by NDA in the past,” Modi said. 

A non-ideological alliance of desperate and disparate groups is not a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ but political adventurism, he said adding that the proposed grand alliance of opposition parties is a failed idea which cannot succeed because people want a strong and decisive government at Centre that can deliver results. 

Modi declared that his platform for the next national election would be “development, fast development and development for all”

Modi took on Congress over the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, saying that Congress is guilty of criminal negligence on this count.

PM also strongly condemned mob lynchings as a crime irrespective of motives.

“My government is fully committed to upholding the rule of law and protecting the life and liberty of every citizen. No person can, under any circumstances, take the law into his or her hand and commit violence,” he said. 

He said the government is working actively against economic absconders, and the recent law to confiscate their properties will deliver results “Anyone who fraudulently takes public money and absconds shall not be spared,” he said. 

Narmalli Sivaprasad

MP shows up on work dressed as Hitler

New Delhi (NM Bureau): The continuing protest by the lawmakers TDP, the ruling party of the Andhra Pradesh province for a special status, had a interesting turn of events today with one of the Member of Parliament (MP) of the party turning up in Parliament for the ongoing monsoon session dressed as Hitler. 

TDP MP Narmalli Sivaprasad, who is popular in Delhi circles for his crazy dressings, made viral news today. This time, the actor-turned-politician, who dresses up as various characters as a form of protest, turned up sporting the mustache associated with Hitler along with a brown shirt and he even posed for the cameras with the Nazi salute. 


Dalai Lama Apologises After Remark On Nehru

New Delhi (NM Bureau): Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has expressed regret over his recent statement on Jawaharlal Nehru in which he called the former Prime Minister as "self-centred". "My statement has created controversy, I apologise if I said something wrong," he said.

Dalai Lama on Wednesday said that India would have remained one, had Jawaharlal Nehru accepted Mahatma Gandhi’s choice of Muhammed Ali Jinnah as the country’s first prime minister. The spiritual leader of the Tibetan people who had flee to India 1959 after Chinese invasion of Tibet is the 14th Dalai Lama. Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India gave asylum to Dalai Lama and Tibetan people in India for their safety.

He was speaking in a conference in Goa when he said Nehru was a “little bit self-centred”. Dalai Lama made the comment while responding to a question by a student on how to overcome emotions and avoid making wrong decisions.


In Karunanidhi’s demise, India loses one of its tallest leaders

Chennai (NM Bureau): One of the last tall figures of the decade old Dravidian movement and patriarch of the Dravida Munitra Kazhagam (DMK) party M Karunanidhi passed away on August 7 in the evening. The five time former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and 11 time MLA in the state legislature, M Karunanidhi is an icon to remembered for ages to come. He was saddled in the seat of DMK Chief for 50 years without any break. Karunanidhi, known Kaliangar by his supporters passed away in Kauvery Hospital here at 6.10pm on Tuesday. He was 94 yr old.

Karunanidhi was born on 3 June 1924 at Thirukkuvalai in the Tanjore district.In 1938, at the age of 14, Karunanidhi entered politics after being inspired by a speech made by Alagiriswami, one of the leading figures of the Justice Party. This was the time when the anti-Hindi agitation was at its peak in Tamil Nadu. In 1957, Karunanidhi was elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly for the first time from the Kulithalai constituency in Trichy district. Since then, he has never lost an election that he has fought and has been elected to the TN assembly 13 times. The DMK patriarch was made the treasurer of the party in 1961. In 1962, he was selected as the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly. When the DMK was elected to power in 1967, Karunanidhi was given the portfolio of public works and thereafter he handled various ministries every time his party came to power. In 1969, Karunanidhi was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the first time following the demise of former CM Annadurai. Since then he has served as the CM of Tamil Nadu for a total of five terms.