Since India’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, it has had 14 prime ministers. If we look at the scenario, India has not been an easy place to govern. It is a young country founded through a traumatic, bloody partition. But on the same land, on 25 December 1924, this country witnessed one of the luckiest days in its history when a legendary took birth. And this legend was no one else than Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Vajpayee, an Indian politician served as the 10th Prime Minister of India, first for 13 days in 1996 and then from 1998 to 2004. And one of the facts that most of us are not aware of about this person is that as a teenager, Vajpayee was jailed briefly for opposing British colonial rule. He flirted with communism before choosing to support the Rashtriya Swamyamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Jan Sangh.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but Vajpayee jee has always been appreciated and adored for his work by the people. So, today I’ve got you a few amazing facts why our nation loves this legend so much.
1. He has been refined, suave & solid!
Vajpayee started his term great, with the historic Pokhran nuclear test within weeks of starting office. He had his lows in being unable to prevent the Kargil intrusion but was later redeemed with a great victory there. He took India through some really tough times such as the fallout of the financial crisis in Asia.
2. He was the one behind our telecom success story
Vajpayee’s New Telecom Policy (NTP) led to a telecom penetration rate rise from below 3% (1999) to over 70% in October 2012. Don’t believe us? Columbia University’s Professor Arvind Panagariya also gives Vajpayee due credit for his role in ramping up our telecom success story in his book ‘India — The Emerging Giant’.
3. He improved our international relationships greatly
‘Look East’ policy which Mr. Modi is promoting was actually a strategy taken up by Atal jee during his tenure. He improved trade ties, resolved territorial disputes with China; enhanced strategic and military cooperation with Israel.
4. The foundation of ‘Right to Education’ policy
Do you think the idea was exclusively a Congress achievement, well no! It was originally Vajpayee’s idea. He laid the foundation of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, which made education for children aged 6 to 14 years, a fundamental right.
5. Maintained a strong GDP growth during his reign
During his time, India saw a devastating earthquake (2001), two cyclones (1999 and 2000), the worst drought in thirty years (2002-2003), Gulf War II and an oil crisis from 2003, the Kargil conflict of 1999, and a Parliament attack. Yet, our GDP didn’t falter during his time.
6. A statesman with a poetic soul
“I shall never accept defeat. I shall be ever-ready for a new battle; I am he who erases old things and writes new things on the forehead of the times; I sing a new song,” are the words of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Isn’t he just a lovable personality.
7. One of the biggest reasons for Delhi Metro Project approval
While the Sheila Dixit government likes to tell us it brought what is possibly India’s best mass transit public transport system, that is not true! The Delhi Metro project was approved, and the first line inaugurated, by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.