IT is common knowledge that there is no love lost between Atal Behari Vajpayee and Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, whom Jayalalitha desperately wanted as finance minister of a BJP-led government. But few are aware of Swamy's autobiography serialised in the Tamil weekly Kumudham, where he has poured venom and vitriol on Vajpayee and cast aspersions on his private life. The serial titled Swami and Friends—a Few Enemies Too was published in early 1997. Here are some excerpts from the magazine which explain why Vajpayee "cannot stand the sight of Swamy":
Issue dated February 20, 1997
WHEN the Morarji Desai-led Janata government came to power by defeating the Congress, many expected that I would get a cabinet berth for my outstanding resistance to the Emergency. But, Atal Behari Vajpayee interfered and spoiled it. Just to get out of the prison on parole, Vajpayee had given a letter of apology to Indira Gandhi and had created a bad precedence. But he had the 91 MPs of the Jan Sangh under his control. He could not stomach the fame I got as an 'Emergency hero'. Further, he was desperately trying to cover the humiliation of his all-out surrender before Indira. He tricked Morarji Desai into giving me just a minister of state...
"As the then external affairs minister, Vajpayee tried his best to prevent me from visiting China and he indeed succeeded for a year. However, in 1978, Morarji paved the way for my China visit. Morarji accepted only my ideas about China and totally rejected Vajpayee's readings. Vajpayee's only concern was to please the Soviet Union. His continuation as the external affairs minister was based on his having 91 Jan Sangh MPs under his thumb and only because of this numerical strength he was not removed from the foreign office...
"Though Charan Singh got a bad name for pulling down the Morarji government, the real culprits are Vajpayee and Ramakrishna Hegde. They deliberately engineered a duel between Charan Singh and Morarji and in the process pushed down Morarji. It was Vajpayee and Hegde who met the president with the letter claiming support of 279 MPs. Out of this 23 MPs' signatures were forged. Investigative agencies alerted the president and he made it public. A shocked Morarji resigned and withdrew from the public life. In fact, on that day Hegde and Vajpayee should have quit public life."
Issue dated March 20, 1997
MORARJI and Charan Singh are known for their morality. But some immoral elements in the Janata (regime) calculated their personal gain by creating a wedge between them. For instance, Vajpayee was embarrassed when Morarji sternly warned him to stop drinking. In Delhi the Japanese external affairs minister had organised a party. Vajpayee, who was present there as India's external affairs minister, was drunk. I was also invited for that dinner. I was shocked to see the external affairs minister fully intoxicated...
"When Morarji asked me, I told him everything. Then, in front of me, he summoned Vajpayee and abused him. But Vajpayee did not open his mouth. He was standing there like a student caught redhanded for stealing by a teacher. As a retaliation and to keep Morarji within limits, Vajpayee sowed poison in Charan Singh's mind. It was Vajpayee who first planted the idea of prime ministership in the mind of Charan Singh. He kept meeting Morarji and Charan Singh separately and started spreading stories against each other. Popular perception is that it was Charan Singh who broke Janata. But the fact is that it was Vajpayee who destroyed the fort called Janata.
"Morarji and Charan Singh are like Kaikeyee of the Ramayana. In the Janata Ramayana, Kooni's role was played by Vajpayee."
Issue dated April 24, 1997
AFTER the 1977 general elections, based on the assurances given by Vajpayee and Nana Goray, Jagjivan Ram was confident of becoming the PM. The Jan Sangh had 102 MPs and the Socialists had 35 and Jagjivan Ram had 27 MPs. That is, out of 318 MPs, nearly half of them were behind Jagjivan Ram. But when Charan Singh clearly expressed that his choice was only Morarji Desai, Vajpayee did a silent somersault and met JP and said that he was willing to change his support. I was there with JP when Vajpayee came running—panting for breath—and expressed his support to Morarji. Jayaprakash Narain turned towards me and winked his gleaming eyes and smiled. Poor Jagjivan Ram was not aware of these developments."