As former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee breathed his last on August 16, Maharashtra leaders across political parties expressed grief over the veteran leader’s demise.
When Nation Next spoke to former chief minister of Maharashtra and NCP leader Prithviraj Chavan, he said, “Our parliamentary delegation had once gone to Pakistan. When we asked him for the permission to visit Pakistan, he refused. We didn’t understand why he was saying a no. He told us since it’s not an official visit, he can’t take any guarantee of our safety and security in Pakistan. He himself went to Pakistan after one week. He was a very loving man. He shared extremely friendly relations with the opposition parties too.”
Former Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar said, “Vajpayee was a leader who followed principles and had faith in the parliamentary democracy. His oratory skill was unique. There cannot be another orator, leader and human being like him.”
Vijay Darda, Rajya Sabha MP from Congress and Chairman at Lokmat Media Pvt Ltd, told Nation Next, “I’d met Atalji for the first time while I was in school. He’d come over at my house to meet my father late Shri Jawaharlal Dardaji. He was an extremely sensitive person. He would always ask me in Marathi, “Kay, kasa kay? Majet na? (Hi, how are you? Hope you’re doing well). How’s your newspaper Lokmat doing? The country has lost a great visionary, a true leader. He would read people’s minds.”
Anil Deshmukh, former minister of Maharashtra and NCP leader said, “I met him a couple of times. He was good to everybody, irrespective of parties. He was a great man. He emerged successful after facing lot of difficulties. He would appreciate leaders of the opposition party generously. And, he always spoke well about the Congress party.
BJP MLA from Hingna in Nagpur, Sameer Meghe, said, “He was a great man. Unfortunately, I never had the fortune to meet him. He was an inspiration for the country. He’s left a huge vacuum; it’s impossible to fill that vacuum.