New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS): Paying glowing tributes to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that the late leader never compromised on his ideology and did not buckle under global pressure even after the nuclear tests in 1998.
Modi said that Vajpayee’s popularity was so immense that he remained alive in people’s memories despite being completely away from public life for the last 10 years.
Addressing a prayer meeting organised in the memory of Vajpayee, the Prime Minister noted that the late leader spent most of his political life at a time when there was virtually no alternative to the dominant political ideology.
“Despite facing isolation, he remained committed to his ideals. He stayed in opposition for so long, yet his ideals remained untouched,” Modi said.
He said that Vajpayee respected parliamentary traditions and when the opportunity came, he implemented his vision for the benefit of the people.
“In each moment, you could feel the ‘Atal’ in him,” the Prime Minister said.
Recalling how Vajpayee surprised the world through the nuclear tests in 1998 during his prime ministership, Modi said that despite global adverse reaction, Atalji did not buckle under pressure, and showed the world that “India is Atal”.
The Prime Minister said that three new states were formed under Vajpayee leadership, without any trace of bitterness.
“Vajpayeeji showed how to take everyone together in decision-making,” he said.
Shedding light on Vajpayee’s achievements as Prime Minister, Modi said that in a huge diplomatic victory, Vajpayee managed to turn around the international narrative on Kashmir — on which India used to be defensive till then — and bring the focus on to terrorism.
“Vajpayee successfully divided the world into two clear halves — those who were with terrorism and those against it,” he said.
The Prime Minister recalled that when Vajpayee first formed the government at the Centre in 1996, no one was willing to offer support and his government fell in 13 days.
“But Atalji did not lose hope and remained committed to serving the people. He showed the way when it came to coalition politics,” the Prime Minister said.
Pointing out that young Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia, who dedicated his gold medal at the ongoing Asian Games to the late leader, he said that Vajpayee will remain an inspiration to the coming generations.
“Nobody can imagine that a person can be alive in people’s memories despite being away from public life. But the immense respect and tributes pouring on his demise show that Atalji still rules the people’s hearts though he was completely away from public life for 10 long years,” Modi said.