New Delhi, Aug 20: Paying glowing tributes to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the late leader’s popularity was so immense that he remained alive in people’s memories despite being completely away from the public life for the last 10 years of his life. “Nobody can imagine that a person can be alive in people’s memories despite being away from public life. But the immense respect and tributes pouring on his demise show that Atalji still rules people’s hearts though he was completely away from the public life for 10 long years,” Modi said at a condolence meet here.
Gloating on Atalji's achievements as the Prime Minister, Modi said that in a huge diplomatic victory, Vajpayee managed to turn around the international narrative on Kashmir — on which India used to be defensive till then — and bring the focus on terrorism. “Vajpayee successfully divided the world into two clear halves — those who were with terrorism and those against it,” he said.
Remembering his long association with Vajpayee, former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani said that during the over 65 years of friendship, Vajpayee and he would often stay together, watch movies together and would read books together. “I had never imagined that some day I would have to address a gathering like this, a gathering where Atalji is not amongst us,” an emotional Advani said. He also recalled how bad he felt when Vajpayee did not turn up at the launch of his autobiography in 2008. (IANS)