Atalji Called Me Kalicharan: Shatrughan Sinha

Atalji Called Me Kalicharan: Shatrughan Sinha

Shatrughan Sinha, being emotional while recalling his fond memories with Atalji, said that the latter encouraged debate and dissent. This is what made Atalji a democrat. He was a man of vision. He always encouraged and supported me. “What can I say about Atal Bihari Vajpayee that I haven't said before? Atalji and Advaniji are my Gurus my mentors in politics. They both are like father figures in my life. I was sent by Atalji to be trained by Nanajee Deshmukh, then to Madan Lal Khurana and Kailashpati Mishra. All through my training initiation and acclimatization into politics, Atalji encouraged and supported me."

“He was a man of vision. Whether if it was for the nuclear explosions in Pokhran or the bus service from India to Lahore, Atalji was a visionary first and a politician later. I was in that historic first bus ride to Lahore sitting right behind him." Recalling more about late Vajpayee, he added, “We both cracked jokes and kept the journey interesting. We could always trust Atalji to make the journey of life interesting. No matter how sticky the situation, he could lighten the atmosphere with poetry and humor.

He further said that during his Prime Ministership, everybody who worked with him was allowed to speak his or her mind freely. Today we have been able to function in an environment of unmitigated fear. No one is allowed to express himself. Atalji encouraged debate and dissent. This is what made him such a Democrat. He remembers he discussed Atalji about the poor medical care in Bihar and Patna and why cannot there be an AIIMS-like hospital in the capital of Bihar. Atalji completely supported Shatrughan's plans and that’s how Patna got its top-notch hospital. Ataljee's love for movies to is mentioned by the actor and said how the former prime minister would address him sometimes as Kalicharan, the character that he played in the movie of that name. Shatrughan too would tease him back saying he sounded like the villain Ajit from Kalicharan. Such was an atmosphere of bantering and joking during Atalji’s days, now sadly gone from the Party.

He added, “His poems were sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Jagjit Singh and Jaya Prada did a dance ballet based on Atalji’s poetry. Not only Atalji, his daughter too is a movie buff. When Salman Khan got to know that Atalji’s daughter was his fan, Salman went over to Atalji’s residence to meet Atalji and his daughter. I think I learned the gift of the gab from Atalji. “He was a very sharp politician. He knew when to talk friendship with Pakistan and when to get tough with our neighbor. There will never be another person like Atalji.”

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