The Untold Vajpayee by Ullekh NP should make for an interesting read, especially for the presentation, punctuation and narration of fictions and facts going on into the making of India’s finest statesman who, apart from being a leader, had the ability and capacity to conduct a diversity of ideas, opinions and views thoughtfully.
Vajpayee had great sharpness and skill in negotiating and persuading with his political opponents. He was a creative craftsman who believed in maintaining his association and camaraderie with leaders across the political spectrum. It ensured securing and safeguarding the ideological commitments of the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party.
From the Nuclear tests in Pokhran to his bus trip in Lahore in 1998, aided by former Pakistani Premier Parvez Musharraf’s Agra summit in 2001, Vajpayee succeeded in performing the politics of cultural pride and patriotism while being the representative of the coalitional arrangement.
In 1996, his government lasted for only 13 days after allies like Shivsena and Akali Dal walked out of his government. But this didn’t deter Vajpayee and he was able to complete his term as the first non-Congress PM from 1999-2004.
Although for electoral compulsions, the India shining campaign was brilliantly and boldly broadcasted by the Vajpayee government, highlighting important pieces of policy and programme legislations impacting and transforming the lives of common and ordinary citizens. Nonetheless, its appeal was limited, denying Vajpayee another shot at power, partially aided by the Gujarat pogroms of 2002 shaking the nation’s collective conscience.
His attempts to teach Modi a lesson on Rajdharma went futile, only to be disobeyed and disregarded. Soon after the pogroms, Modi gradually became a prominent politician, creative and crafted in practising the rules of the play for his acknowledgement and appreciation of rank and authority.
Nevertheless, Vajpayee disapproved of his techniques and tactics and had asked for his resignation after the Gujarat riots. But after Advani refused to oblige, Vajpayee was left with no alternative but to accept his colleague’s take.
Beginning his political career as a young activist of the All India Student Federation, Vajpayee left the student body to become a volunteer of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological guardian of the Bhartiya Janta Party. He was wise and intelligent in nourishing and nurturing his politics by hats of different shapes and sizes, something difficult to imagine in contemporary politics.
A great learner and leader who always had an appetite for staying humorous and harmonious as long as he stayed in active politics, prioritising over bonds and blessings for being answerable and accountable, Vajpayee redefined the taste and text of politics, which has stoked dismay, decay and divide in the society.
Our Netas should go back a little to revisit Vajpayee’s legacy and era and provide themselves with the sets of responses for setting the present.