Vajpayee Was The Right Man In The Wrong Party | By D. Raja

Atal Behari Vajpayee, a founder of the BJP, was a rightist by ideology, but at the same time, as a parliamentarian, minister and prime minister, he never stopped interacting with others, writes D. Raja.


Atal Behari Vajpayee, a founder of the BJP, was a rightist by ideology, but at the same time, as a parliamentarian, minister and prime minister, he never stopped interacting with others. Whether he agreed with or not, he listened to all—that is why he was the right man in the wrong party.

Read Also: Remembering Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Poet, Politician, And Orator

When it was being debated whether India should send troops to Iraq, Vaj­payee wanted to consult Left parties. Harkishen Singh Surjeet, then CPI(M) general secretary, and A.B. Bardhan, former CPI general secretary, went to meet Vajpayee. Both felt India should not succumb to US pressure and Vaj­payee said “alright”. The next day, a resolution was passed in Parliament. From Comrade Bardhan we learned that during their meeting, Vajpayee told them, “Zor se boliye, comrade! Idhar se bahar jao aur kaho....” (Speak out, comrade. Go out and say this).  He said leaders should make their pos­­­ition clear and take it to the people. Vaj­payee was PM thrice from 1996 to 2004. During his full term, the India Shi­ning campaign was launched, which we criticised. We questioned his policies and party on many issues. Yet, he would greet us with an “Aaiye, comrade!”


(D. Raja is the national secretary, CPI and former MP, Rajya Sabha)

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