The powerful voice of Atalji will no more be heard
The nation will no more hear the powerful and commanding voice of the beloved leader Atal Behari Vajpayee. A great personality, his speeches had a magical charm. He was such a charismatic leader that he was able to keep lacs of people spell-bound in public meetings. I had an opportunity of working under his leadership in 1971, when I joined the Bharatiya Jansangh in Odisha as a member of the national executive of the party. After the collapse of the Janata Party government in 1979, when Atalji became the National President of the Bharatiya Janata Party on April 6, 1980, he nominated me as the first President of BJP in Odisha. Since then I have been working in the party and was in the government as a Minister in the state during the BJP-BJD alliance.
Atal Behari Vajpayee had a dream of making India a powerful and developed nation in the world. When he became the Prime Minister, he had the courage for conducting nuclear explosions on May11,1998, when all the big powers of the world had pounced upon him and asked to stop the nuclear explosions. Brushing aside their threats Atalji conducted three more nuclear explosions on May 13 and declared before the world that India had become a nuclear power and hence no country will dare attack India. The big powers like USA, England and others were highly annoyed and imposed economic sanctions on India and stopped providing all possible loans. Atalji did not yield to the pressure of these big powers and said that we would stand on our own feet. At that time, the NRIs in USA came forward and said that AB Vajpayee had given the great honour to the country, which had no parallel. They said that before these nuclear explosions the Americans were of the view that India was a weak nation, but the nuclear tests had changed their attitude towards India. They talked among themselves that India had become a nuclear power. The Americans also started showing due respect to the Indians in the USA and their attitude had completely changed due to the strong stand taken by Atalji. Big powers of the world had changed their attitude and tried to extend their cooperation to India. They lifted economic sanctions on India. The then US President had invited Atal Bihari Vajpayee to the US and wanted his cooperation on all the big issues of the world. This great leader was not only the PM of India but he was a great statesman. Atalji could make all the powerful nations of the world, the friends of India.
Atalji as PM had the achievements which no other PM had ever made in all the sectors. As Gandhiji had said that without the development of the rural areas of the country, we cannot develop a nation, it is only Vajpayee who followed it in words and spirit, and had the firm view that all the facilities that are available to the urban people could be provided in the rural areas. Therefore, the rural road connectivity and drinking water through pipe was his dream project that had been executed all over India. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana is a great contribution that provided good roads in the rural areas of the country. At that time, the then Union government had contributed cent per cent funds from the Centre. The Golden Quadrilateral NH Project of Atalji revealed his wide vision to connect all the big cities of the country. He also felt the misery of the old people, who had been neglected by their sons and other members of the family, so he had launched a unique scheme called Annapurna Yojana, through which 10 kg of rice were provided to the old people for their living. Several poverty-oriented schemes like Antodaya Yojana and others were also launched for eradication of poverty and hunger of the people.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee had showed his skill by running his government successfully with 24 alliance partners. His first government in 1996 collapsed within 13 days and his marvellous speech on the floor of the Lok Sabha was so powerful and amazing that it roused the entire nation. It created a wave, which was known as Vajpayee wave throughout the country. And he again became the PM of India, and the government continued for 13 months. The people of the country were not prepared to disappoint Atalji and again voted for him and made him Prime Minister of India. Like his mesmerising public speeches, his thoughtful and powerful speeches in the Parliament were also equally powerful and attractive. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was so much moved with his speeches in the Lok Sabha that he envisioned that this young man would be the PM of this country in future. He was the leader who commanded respect from all the leaders from both the Benches. As a leader of the Opposition also, he had that commanding voice and he would get respect as the Prime Minister would.
When he was the leader of the Opposition, the then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao had sent him to UN to participate as the representative of India. His unique speech in Hindi in the UN had created a sensation. I have never seen such a big leader who had so much of love for his country and the people, especially the downtrodden of the society. He was a great patriot, who had given all possible support to Indira Gandhi at the time of war with Pakistan in 1971, and didn’t hesitate to say that the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the leader of the country and we stood firmly by her at that time. His stand during the Kargil war gave victory to the country and diplomatic success in the world. Nobody had thought of his friendly mission to Pakistan by bus, in spite of the hostility of Pakistan. Atalji, the great son of the country, the great leader and the great statesman, will always be remembered by the people of our country.
The people of Odisha cannot forget Atalji for his great contribution at the time of super cyclone in Odisha, in which 10 thousand people had lost their lives and 14 districts of the state had been devastated. One crore and 80 lakh people had been affected and houses of the common man and schools, colleges and hospitals had been completely damaged. I had the opportunity as the Revenue Minister of the state to undertake the reconstruction drive of the devastated areas. Atalji as the Prime Minister had announced that whatever funds were required for reconstruction of Odisha would be provided and he had stuck to that. He had provided seven lakh Indira Awas for construction of houses of the common man. Owing to all possible help in all sectors by Atalji, the reconstruction work could materialise in Odisha.
By Bishwabhushan Harichandan