Guwahati, Aug 16 (IANS) Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi led the state leaders on Thursday in mourning the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying that the “nation had lost an eminent statesman”.
“As Prime Minister, he made bold yet subtle statement regarding India’s nuclear capability by going for the Pokhran test, thereby helping India gain entry to the Nuclear Club.
“He, however, made it unambiguously clear that the country’s nuclear repository and policy is for self-defence, that the country is a believer in non-violence and in no way will be in a nuclear race with any country, and India will not use the nuclear power first but in self-defence,” Mukhi said.
“His sagacity and leadership at both national and international levels has been a source of inspiration and guidance,” the Governor added.
He recalled the veteran politician as India’s then Foreign Minister in 1977 surprised one and all by speaking in Hindi in the UN General Assembly.
“The way he conveyed so much in so few words left the world dumbfounded. He spoke about ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ at that level and made the country’s intentions clear at the world forum. This speech made many people realise the importance of the native tongue and also placed an Indian Language on the world political stage,” he added.
Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia expressed grief and said that the country had “lost a stalwart who embodied the best values of parliamentary democracy”.
Saikia said that Vajpayee was admired and respected even by his political opponents because he always placed national interests above party interests.
“As the Prime Minister, Vajpayee did not hesitate to remind then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to follow ‘Raj Dharma’ in the wake of riots in that state,” said Saikia.
Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowari also condoled Vajpayee’s death in Delhi at the age of 93 after a prolonged illness.
“He was an iconic statesman and stalwart of Indian politics. A revered politician, Vajpayee was widely appreciated in national and international arenas for his acumen and foresight. One of the most popular Indian public figures, Vajpayee was loved, appreciated and regarded as a role model by generations of the country’s leaders. His demise is a huge loss for the nation,” said Patowari.