Former prime minister and veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee has not only been a deft politician but a maverick orator as well. From speaking with elan in the Paliament to using humour and wit to tackle questions on a tricky issue like Kashmir, Vajpayee has always used the gift of gab to maneuver his way through the hearts of the masses. Here is a look back at some of his most memorable and historic addresses:
When he defied all odds and brickbats to go ahead with the Pokhran-II nuclear test
“Today, at 3.45 pm, India conducted three underground nuclear tests in the Pokhran range. These tests conducted today were with a fission device, a low-yield device and a thermonuclear device. The measured yields are in line with the expected values. Measurements have also confirmed that there was no release of radioactivity into the atmosphere. These were contained explosions like the experiment conducted in May 1974. I warmly congratulate the scientists and engineers who have carried out these successful tests,” Vajpayee said in his media address post the success of the tests.
And when he spoke in the Lok Sabha defending the nuclear tests
“We have been the victims of three attacks. This fate should not repeat. We are not getting ready to attack anyone. We don’t have that intention. I was asked about the connection between Pokhran-II and the Lahore bus service. They are two sides of the same coin — the strength of our defence and the hand of friendship — the hand of friendship through honesty.” Vajpayee asserted that India had to be “fully self-reliant in matters of national security” as he reminded his critics: “Vah purusharth ke prakateekaran ke liye nahin tha” (We did not do it to boast our valour). Rather, he said that India’s policy was to “have a minimum and credible deterrent so that no external power will ever dare threaten us”.
Even when India was hit with economic sanctions by the United States of America and several other western powers including Japan, Vajpayee stood firm to give out a clear message to the world. “We knew that India would have to face some difficulties. But we were also confident that Indians would overcome these difficulties with courage and determination. Economic sanctions could not stop India’s progress. We have never taken any decision, nor shied away from taking any decision, under foreign pressure”, he boldly remarked in the Parliament.
When he announced his resignation in the Loks Sabha post the fall of his 13-day government in 1996
“You want to run the country. It’s a very good thing. Our congratulations are with you. We will be completely involved in the service of our country. We bow down to the strength of majority. We assure you that till the time the work that we started with our bare hands in national interest is not completed, we shall not rest. Respected Speaker, I am going to the president to tender my resignation”, Vajpayee remarked as he read out his speech which was titled ‘Here comes my resignation, Mr Speaker’. His confidence was evident as he came back to form the government two year later 1998 and again in 1999 after the AIADMK withdrew its support to the NDA.
While addressing a joint session of the US Congress in 2000
“As we talk with candour, we open the doors to new possibilities and new areas of cooperation in advance in democracy, in combating terrorism, in energy and environment, science and technology and international peacekeeping. And we are discovering that our shared values and common interests are leading us to seek a natural partnership of shared endeavours. India and the United States have taken a decisive step, away from the past”, Vajpayee had said.
“The dawn of the new century has marked a new beginning in our relations. Let us work to fulfil this promise and the hope of today. Let us remove the shadow of agitation that lies between us and our joint vision. Let us use the strength of all that we have in common to build together a future that we wish for ourselves and for the world we live in”, Vajpayee asserted in a firm and straight address which was a marked contrast from his soft candour.
His Independence Day address from the Red Fort in 2002
“My dear countrymen, on this independence anniversary, we have a message – to come together, to work hard together to realize the dreams of our country. Our aim may be as high as the endless sky, but we should have a resolve in our minds to walk ahead, hand-in-hand, for victory will be ours. Come, let us strengthen this resolve with the cry of ‘Jai Hind‘. Join me in raising the slogan – Jai Hind. Jai Hind. Jai Hind. Thank you”, Vajpayee said.
Published Date: Jun 12, 2018 13:12 PM
| Updated Date: Jun 12, 2018 13:12 PM
Updated Date: Jun 12, 2018 13:12 PM