Statesman of Inclusive Politics

ANIMESH SRIVASTAVA 28/08/2018 12:58:07


Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on August 16 and with him, a legacy of inclusive politics and generosity towards the opposition has come to an end as the current regime or the in the upcoming future, the political parties are in no mood to make peace with each other. In a people oriented government, the presence of a strong opposition is mandatory to control the ruling party so it can criticise the government's policies which are not beneficial for the common people. The role of the opposition is to accept the things they are, the opposition doesn't mean that they have to oppose everything, the courage to accept a move done by the other party is a positive approach in democracy. This might sound strange to you, but a person can serve the nation by sitting in the opposition party, Atal Ji was the best example of this tradition.

A major part of his political career was spent in the opposition, but because of his exemplary oratory skills and knowledge, he managed to make a mark being a member of the opposition. He always used to say that there are various parties in our country and every party has its own method to work, but the common goal for every party is to work for the growth of the country so there might be ideological differences, but there is no space for personal grudges in a healthy parliamentary system, because of this thought, leader from every political party respected him. The level of acceptance was on a grand scale that he was referred as 'Right Man in the Wrong Party', leaders criticised the party, but not Atal Ji, though everyone has ideological differences, that was never a hurdle during his career.

Atal Ji had a political career of 5 decades in which he witnessed many great leaders in the parliament, from Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi to PV Narsimha Rao and he was always present as an MP who had the courage to appraise the actions of the other party if the decision is taken for the improvement of the country's position and to criticize the decisions. He was respected equally by the ruling party, Atal Ji criticized Nehru several times, but when a delegation was going to United Nations and an Indian leader was going to speak at the UN General Assembly, Nehru chose the name of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, despite being a member of the opposition, he was preferred because of his oratory skills and Atal Ji presented his speech in Hindi and told the world that people of India are not ashamed of their mother tongue.

When emergency was imposed, he wrote a letter to Jai Prakash Narain about the condition of the country and the opposition, he wrote in the letter that the prevailing conditions of the opposition is very bad and if we don't do anything, the future generations won't forgive us. After merging several parties, Janata Party was formed which swept the Lok Sabha elections in 1977 after the emergency and Morarji Desai became the first non-Congress Prime Minister, Atal Ji was the Minister of External Affairs. Unfortunately, that government couldn't complete the full tenure and Congress was back in power and Atal Ji in the opposition.

In 1996, he became the Prime Minister of India, but only for 13 days because he failed at the floor test. He made a legendary speech and he said that no unconstitutional method will be used to remain in power and he is going to present his resignation to the President. He resigned, but the image of a leader who is not morally corrupted, not hungry for power was imprinted in the mind of common people and in 1998, he again came into power but this time only for 13 months. In 1999, he again came into power and became the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete his full tenure. The administrative and managerial skills can be concluded by the fact that in that alliance there were 24 parties and Atal Ji was successful in keeping those parties in a close knit. His tenure lasted till 2004 and many major decisions were taken in this government, one decision which shook the world, especially the USA was testing the nuclear weapon and making India a nuclear state. India was warned by the USA of economic sanctions if any type of nuclear weapon test was carried out by India, but he did it anyway to strengthen the country and Pokhran 2.0 was a success. He was asked in the Parliament that what was the need to carry out such test? He replied that when the first test was carried out by Indira Gandhi, he was in the opposition but applauded the decision because it was for the welfare of the society. He always believed that somethings are bigger than politics and when it comes to the matter of national security, every party must join hands with each other.

As a Member of Parliament, sometimes he was aggressive, but he never had any differences from any person outside the Parliament, every leader praised him for his generosity and compassion. He was referred as 'Ajaatshatru' (a person with no enemies) of Indian politics. Atal Ji started a tradition of inclusive politics where everyone is part of a big family and despite having some differences, the overall goal is one. He retired from politics in 2004 and after that, the parties failed to understand the importance of inclusive politics and started opposing everything done by the ruling party.

With the demise of Atal Ji, a golden era of politics, poetry and charisma has ended and this country will always miss the person who mesmerized the country by his skills.

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