Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray penned a touching personal tribute on his social media network to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who passed away on Thursday.
“A career spanning the eras of pre-Independence to post-Independence and leading India into the new century is the very essence of Shri Vajpayee,” said Thackeray.
“Keeping this huge time-frame in mind, Atalji never lost his relevance and on the contrary remained an inspiring force. Each decade passed by and with it, came the set of changing generations and their ideologies.
“Needles to say, with these changes, there emerged a greater need for him. It was because of all this, that the country’s reins came in his hands at the turn of the century,” wrote Thackeray.
Thackeray, who is also an acclaimed cartoonist cherishes a good rapport with the late leader, who in turn was close to the late Bal Thackeray, founder of Shiv Sena, which became the oldest, and presently the biggest ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Senior party leaders say that Vajpayee was a regular at the Thackeray household “Matoshri” in Bandra east, and enjoyed cordial relations with the entire family.
They included present Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and kin Raj Thackeray, before the latter quit the home, the party and launched his new political venture, MNS, in March 2006, even as many urged the cousins to bury their differences.
Continuing his tribute, Thackeray said: “The Congress Party appeared invincible and for decades, Atalji only played the role of an Opposition.
“However, not once, did he display or imbibe any indication of bitterness, envy or resentment. This magnanimity and courteousness was carried forward even when he came into power.
“His commanding grasp on various subjects such as literature, culture and ancient history moulded him into becoming one of the finest orators of our times. This, in return left an indelible mark on my generation.
“I consider myself privileged for having witnessed his cultured reign on our political arena from close quarters. As we approach 75 years of our Independence, Atalji’s presence as a patriotic leader will be greatly missed.
He concluded by saying that “the MNS humbly bows down to this inspiring leader.”