Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is among the few politicians who have worked with the political stalwart and former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In a heartfelt conversation with Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab goswami, Prasad shared some of his most personal memories that he shared with the former PM.
The Union Law Minister recollected that he was merely in his 40s when he was brought to Delhi from Patna by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Soon after he arrived in Delhi, Prasad said, he was handed over with the portfolio of coal ministry in Vajpayee's cabinet. Recalling the time when he went to seek blessing from the late former Prime Minister, Prasad's first words were "You put me in a pile of coal?" to which Vajpayee responded by saying "make sure you don't blacken yourself when you come out".
"Man with infinite courage and passion," Prasad says about the former PM. Recalling times of crisis, Ravi Shankar Prasad states that during his time as the Information and Broadcast minister, he eased on providing licenses to many of the media channels which were questioned by various politicians inside the party. However, when he approached Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister asked him just one question: "What are your thoughts?" to which Prasad said," It will be good, the country will be better informed". Prasad then states that the decision was not questioned a second time by Vajpayee who completely approved it and asked him to proceed.
In 1984, when the BJP lost, various politicians from the Opposition party said: "it's time to close your shop and go". However, Vajpayee maintaining his calm and responded in a poem saying:
"हार नहीं मानूँगा,
रार नयी ठानूंगा,
काल के कपाल पर लिखता मिटाता हूँ।
गीत नया गाता हूँ।"
"Har nahi manunga
Rar nahi thanunga
Kal ke kapaal par likhta hu mitata hu
Geet naya gaata hu"
"I am similarly fortunate that I got the opportunity to work with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a young student activist in his council of ministers. This will remain as an important part of my political persona which I would always relish" says Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The nation, on August 16 suffered a great loss after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee breathed his last after nine weeks of observation under a team of doctors at the All India Institute for Medical Science (AIIMS).
On August 17, the procession carrying the mortal remains of the former PM was taken from the BJP headquarters to Smriti Sthal in Delhi. Major political leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Union Ministers followed the procession on foot. The former PM was laid to rest with full state honours at the Smriti Sthal.