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A Master Of Reconciliation

Vajpayee will always be remembered for creating a new paradigm in the most holistic way possible

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The was someone who cannot be captured in a few memories. He was awesome and his perspective and aura was larger than life. Nationally or internationally, his image was not limited to certain boundaries. He was a true icon of collective governance. You need to have that extra charisma to reach that stature.

Vajpayee will always be remembered for creating a new paradigm in the most holistic way possible. In my opinion, he was the father of politics of reconciliation and harmonisation, both at the international and national level. He never believed in rubbing people the wrong way. If someone had an idea he would try in the best way possible to arrive at a common consensual conclusion on that.

How well did he manage to carry 20 parties without turbulence! It was a master craftsmanship. It is no joke to form a government with parties that had different ideologies and ideas, different dispensations, different attitudes and even very different political cultures.

It was magical how it all worked like family! It was the family system of work that made such a relatively large coalition government successful.

Nothing was left untouched. The economy grew, productivity grew, roads that connected urban areas until then started reaching the lifeline of India, the villages under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, work on connecting networks of optical fibre started.

On the international front, strengthening of ties with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal was started with renewed vigour and urgency. In fact, the same urgency was shown in building connections with Pakistan. The whole approach was of reconciling the different viewpoints and taking them forward.

The fundamental changes that transformed the economic system of India was due to the art of reconciliation. It was a time when people who believed in swadeshi were on top and people who believed in globalisation were also on top, standing together and contributing to the national growth and working together for the prosperous economic future of the nation. The people who propagated disinvestment were there along with people who were opposed to disinvestment but they all worked together.

If ever there was a different point or approach he would always find a way to come to a common point and reach a common conclusion. He would pursue it to make it acceptable to the whole cabinet — one cabinet, one conclusion. He never imposed his views on anyone. For instance, if did not like disinvestment of some assets he never said, No! I don’t like it.

I was a part of the cabinet and no decision without consensus or reconciliation was ever taken for any portfolio. The Ministry of Human Resources (which was under Joshi then) too never took any decision without a consensus. 
Joshi,  a former BJP president, was a cabinet minister in the Vajpayee government

As told to Prabodh Krishna