Indore: Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had a strong connection with Indore. Not only his niece Mala Tiwari lives in Indore but he knew many local leaders by their names including Satyanarayan Sattan, Babu Singh Raghuvanshi and Gopi Krishna Nema. Not to mention Indore MP and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and national BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.
People who knew Vajpayee recalled the incidents associated with him. City BJP president Gopi Krishna Nema said he loved Indore’s poha-jalebi, kachori and namkeen. “In 2003, he came to Indore and was staying at Residency Kothi. He asked me to bring kachori and rabadi from Sarafa. He knew that Sarafa is famous for snacks,” Nema said.
Sattan said he would take namkeen for him whenever he would go to Delhi to meet him. Lagu Udayog Nigam president Babu Singh Raghuvanshi recalled the arrangement for breakfast made at a place in Palasia when a national convention was organised in the city.
We had served corn flakes, jam-butter and sandwich. “Seeing the items on the table, Vajpayee asked me if that’s what I wanted him to have. The, I immediately called poha-jalebi and kachori after which he had breakfast,” Raghuvanshi said. He also recalled that a cook was specially called to make daal bafla for him when he as Prime Minister visited city in 2003.
Tai tied rakhi to Vajpayee
Sumitra Mahajan, who was minister in his cabinet, had an emotional bonding with Vajpayee. He used to consider Mahajan as his younger sister. During his visit to Indore in 2003-2004, Mahajan wished to tie him rakhi when he reached Nehru Stadium for addressing a public gathering. He immediately agreed. Mahajan then tied rakhi to him.
IMC election or college polls
In 1983, Vijapayee visited city to campaign for municipal elections. On seeing the party candidates who were young, Vajpayee asked, “Are they candidates for municipal elections or for college elections?” Nema said he appreciated local leaders for encouraging youths to contest elections.
Atal twisted Raghuvanshi’s ear
Babu Singh Raghuvanshi recalled that Vajpayee had come to city for a convention when he asked him about the venue. I told him that the convention will be held at ‘medan’. He asked me to repeat the name of the venue. “When I again said medan, he corrected me. He said it is maidan not medan.” Raghuvanshi said Vajpayee twisted his ear and made me him say ‘maidan’ 10 times till he was sure that he pronounced it correctly.
Fond of movies
Mala Tiwari said that his uncle Vajpayee was fond of movies. She said when Vajpayee had come to Indore in 2003, he was PM. “Due to protocol, we could not meet him at Sayayji hotel. So we met him at Residency Kothi. He then said he would have not left Indore without meeting me and family,” Tiwari told Free Press.
He used to respect others
Sattan recalled that there was a public gathering at Rajwada in 1980, which was to be addressed by Vajpayee and Choudhary Charan Singh. “Charan Singh’s supporter Ramshankar Singh said Choudhary should speak after Vajpayee to which I objected. When Vajpayee came to know this, he called me and said that Choudhary was senior to him and the demand for allowing him to speak was justified. But when Vajpayee finished his speech, people started leaving. Vajpayeeji told me to request people to stay till Choudhary’s speech. I requested people to stay and told them that Vajpayeeji would recite poems to which he smiled,” Sattan recalled. “There is no one like and there will be no one like him.”
National BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya
“Country has lost a bright star of Indian politics. Atalji was a sensitive poet, journalist and a true nationalist. He was a leader of international stature. He was a patriarch, guru and guide not just for me but for millions of people like me who drew inspiration from him. His guidance raised Bharatiya Janata Party to the stature where it has reached today – the world’s largest political party.” —-Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan
Industries, markets to remain closed
Siyaganj, Maharani Road, MTH Compound Market, MT Cloth Market, Bohra Bazar, Marothia Bazar, Sitlamata Mata Bazar, Sarafa Bazar, Bartan Bazar and other major markets will remain closed on Friday as mark of respect. Similarly,industries located in city will remain closed following appeal made by Association of Industries of Madhya Pradesh. Malwa Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Ramesh Khandelwal and AIMP president Alok Dave have expressed grief on Vajpayee’s demise. Petrol pumps to remain closed from 2 pm to 3 pm on Friday.