Souvenirs: Who is the Prime Minister, me or George?

I consider myself extremely lucky that I got an opportunity to interview four times with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Before discussing my first interview with Atalji, let me take you to the city of Lord Bholenath. Vajpayee was the Prime Minister of the country at that time, and I used to work for All India Radio. Atalji came to Varanasi to attend a function. In those days, the tension between India and Pakistan was at a peak and it seemed that the war between the two countries could erupt anytime. The tension was so high that the then Defense Minister George Fernandes had told reporters in Rajasthan that there could be a war between India and Pakistan at any time.

When Atalji reached the stage in Varanasi program, I met his secretary RP Singh and told him that I want to ask the Prime Minister a question. Seeing the seriousness of the matter after listening to my question, he asked me to follow him. I stood near the stairs of the platform. When Atalji was coming down from the stage after the program was over, I bowed to him with folded hands and gave my introduction. He stopped and said, “Ask what you want to ask.”

Tensions At The Peak

Referring to the tension between India and Pakistan, I directly asked him if there could be a war between the two countries. Hearing my question, his face became very serious for a moment. But the very next moment he said in his familiar posture – “There will be no war between the two countries.”

After saying this, he moved forward. I reiterated my question to him – but yesterday, Defense Minister George Fernandez has said that war can happen at any time between the two countries. Vajpayee stopped after hearing my question. He retorted, “Who is the Prime Minister, me or George Fernandez?”

I said – Prime Minister is you. Hearing me, he said, “I am saying there will not be war.” I assure the countrymen not to worry. ”After the Prime Minister’s statement ran on All India Radio, the news agencies, Doordarshan and other TV channels started running this news. The next day this news became the headline of newspapers in India and abroad.

Now I am going to mention my first interview with Atalji. For the first time, I had to reach Solapur district of Maharashtra at six in the morning to interview him. In fact, the working committee meeting of Maharashtra Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party was going on in Solapur. Atalji also reached to participate in that meeting. In those days I was a senior correspondent in the Mumbai edition of the Hindi daily Kubera Times. Atalji attended the working committee meeting there and addressed a press conference thereafter. The next day, he had to leave for Delhi at seven in the morning. Then I requested the then National General Secretary of BJP Pramod Mahajan that I have to interview Atalji, you give me his time.

Pramod Mahajan talked to Atalji after which I got time at six in the morning. That is, an hour before he leaves Delhi. This was a big opportunity for me. It was to interview a leader whose image was very big on the national table. I was very nervous. Atalji sensed my discomfort. He went ahead and took over the situation himself. First he asked for tea for me and then the interview started after all. This first interview with him lasted for 40 minutes.

After the interview was over, Atal ji himself praised me. In this interview, I questioned Atalji about the foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi. In response to my question, he said, “As a woman I respect Sonia Gandhi but can I or any other Indian go to Italy and become the Prime Minister there.” Sonia Gandhi should think about it herself. ”His statement made headlines in the entire media world the next day.

I did a second interview with Vajpayeeji at Hotel Holiday Inn in Mumbai. A few months ago, Atal ji resigned as the Prime Minister of the country. He was the Prime Minister for 13 months. During the vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha, his government fell by one vote.

Atalji reached Mumbai to attend a function. As always, Pramod Mahajan was with Atalji at that time. Taking advantage of the identity from Pramod Mahajan, I once again demanded an interview and reached the hotel holiday-in.

This interview with Atalji lasted for about 25 minutes. In this interview, he had expressed concern over the growing corruption in the country, the declining level of politics and India’s constantly deteriorating situation in the international world. When I asked Atalji about the Kashmir problem, his answer was, India and Pakistan must solve this problem together. We would never like a third party to mediate in this. If Pakistan feels that it will take Kashmir from us, then it is dreaming day by day. And, the dreams seen in the day are never fulfilled. This entire conversation with Atalji was published by the popular weekly blitz published from Mumbai.

I once went on an election tour from Mumbai to Uttar Pradesh along with Bharatiya Janata Party national general secretary Pramod Mahajan. 1999 was the year of the Lok Sabha elections. Pramod Mahajan’s first public meeting was in Duddhi (Robertsganj). His second public meeting was in Kanpur and the third was in Lucknow. Atal Bihari Vajpayee himself was contesting from Lucknow. Pramod Mahajan and other party leaders were addressing the public meeting in Aliganj area of ​​Lucknow.

I consider myself extremely lucky that I got an opportunity to interview four times with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Before discussing my first interview with Atalji, let me take you to the city of Lord Bholenath. Vajpayee was the Prime Minister of the country at that time, and I used to work for All India Radio. Atalji came to Varanasi to attend a function. In those days, the tension between India and Pakistan was at a peak and it seemed that the war between the two countries could erupt anytime. The tension was so high that the then Defense Minister George Fernandes had told reporters in Rajasthan that there could be a war between India and Pakistan at any time.

When Atalji reached the stage in Varanasi program, I met his secretary RP Singh and told him that I want to ask the Prime Minister a question. Seeing the seriousness of the matter after listening to my question, he asked me to follow him. I stood near the stairs of the platform. When Atalji was coming down from the stage after the program was over, I bowed to him with folded hands and gave my introduction. He stopped and said, “Ask what you want to ask.”

Referring to the tension between India and Pakistan, I directly asked him if there could be a war between the two countries. Hearing my question, his face became very serious for a moment. But the very next moment he said in his familiar posture – “There will be no war between the two countries.”

After saying this, he moved forward. I reiterated my question to him – but yesterday, Defense Minister George Fernandez has said that war can happen at any time between the two countries. Vajpayee stopped after hearing my question. He retorted, “Who is the Prime Minister, me or George Fernandez?”

I said – Prime Minister is you. Hearing me, he said, “I am saying there will not be war.” I assure the countrymen not to worry. ”After the Prime Minister’s statement ran on All India Radio, the news agencies, Doordarshan and other TV channels started running this news. The next day this news became the headline of newspapers in India and abroad.

Now I am going to mention my first interview with Atalji. For the first time, I had to reach Solapur district of Maharashtra at six in the morning to interview him. In fact, the working committee meeting of Maharashtra Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party was going on in Solapur. Atalji also reached to participate in that meeting. In those days I was a senior correspondent in the Mumbai edition of the Hindi daily Kubera Times. Atalji attended the working committee meeting there and addressed a press conference thereafter. The next day, he had to leave for Delhi at seven in the morning. Then I requested the then National General Secretary of BJP Pramod Mahajan that I have to interview Atalji, you give me his time.

Pramod Mahajan talked to Atalji after which I got time at six in the morning. That is, an hour before he leaves Delhi. This was a big opportunity for me. It was to interview a leader whose image was very big on the national table. I was very nervous. Atalji sensed my discomfort. He went ahead and took over the situation himself. First he asked for tea for me and then the interview started after all. This first interview with him lasted for 40 minutes.

After the interview was over, Atal ji himself praised me. In this interview, I questioned Atalji about the foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi. In response to my question, he said, “As a woman I respect Sonia Gandhi but can I or any other Indian go to Italy and become the Prime Minister there.” Sonia Gandhi should think about it herself. ”His statement made headlines in the entire media world the next day.

I did a second interview with Vajpayeeji at Hotel Holiday Inn in Mumbai. A few months ago, Atal ji resigned as the Prime Minister of the country. He was the Prime Minister for 13 months. During the vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha, his government fell by one vote.

Atalji reached Mumbai to attend a function. As always, Pramod Mahajan was with Atalji at that time. Taking advantage of the identity from Pramod Mahajan, I once again demanded an interview and reached the hotel holiday-in.

This interview with Atalji lasted for about 25 minutes. In this interview, he had expressed concern over the growing corruption in the country, the declining level of politics and India’s constantly deteriorating situation in the international world. When I asked Atalji about the Kashmir problem, his answer was, India and Pakistan must solve this problem together. We would never like a third party to mediate in this. If Pakistan feels that it will take Kashmir from us, then it is dreaming day by day. And, the dreams seen in the day are never fulfilled. This entire conversation with Atalji was published by the popular weekly blitz published from Mumbai.

I once went on an election tour from Mumbai to Uttar Pradesh along with Bharatiya Janata Party national general secretary Pramod Mahajan. 1999 was the year of the Lok Sabha elections. Pramod Mahajan’s first public meeting was in Duddhi (Robertsganj). His second public meeting was in Kanpur and the third was in Lucknow. Atal Bihari Vajpayee himself was contesting from Lucknow. Pramod Mahajan and other party leaders were addressing the public meeting in Aliganj area of ​​Lucknow.