RIP! Atal Behari Vajpayee

1924 - 2018

Obituary by Deepak Parvatiyar

Atal Behari Vajpayee is no more! The former Indian Prime Minister breathed his last after a prolonged illness at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences at 5.05 pm on Monday 16th August, 2018. He represented a rare breed of gentlemen politicians.

As a journalist my work made me meet Atal ji on quite a few occasions. But one particular interaction, though a short one, remains etched in my memory.

Year 1995. Shankarsinh Vaghela had revolted bringing the Gujarat BJP government to the brink of the cliff. Vajpayee had rushed to Gandhinagar after Vaghela refused to yield to Advani’s pleas. He had insisted he would only talk to Vajpayee.

Vajpayee was the statesman. He held meeting with BJP legislators. As they met in a hall, as a journalist, I was there waiting outside. The moment the meeting was over I rushed to the hall and got on the way of Vajpayee and asked him the question:”Mr. Vajpayee, what is the situation? Is there any possibility of a patch up?”. Vajpayee smilingly looked at this young journalist and his reply was terrific that any young reporter would have lapped up – “The situation is pregnant with all possibilities”. He said and thumped my back. I had got my headline and what a headline that was! RIP AB Vajpayee!

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