New Delhi: To commemorate late Prime Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee's 94th birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a Rs 100 coin on December 24. The event was attended by Vajpayee's long-time associate and senior BJP leader LK Advani, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP president Amit Shah.
Addressing the gathering, Modi said he would go to Vajpayee's memorial on Tuesday to reiterate his commitment to the ideology and the path shown by the statesman. "Atal Ji wanted democracy to be supreme. He built the Jan Sangh. But, when the time came to rescue our democracy he and others went to Janata Party. Likewise, when the choice was between remaining in power or comprising on ideology, he left Janata Party and formed the BJP," the PM said.
He said that the party which was built by Vajpayee "brick by brick" was now one of the largest political parties in the country. Lauding the former PM's oratory skills, Modi said, "When he spoke, the nation spoke… when he spoke the nation listened."
While power can be intoxicating for some, so much so that those holding it might not be able to give it away, Vajpayee spent a long span of his political career in the Opposition benches in the Parliament, raising issues of national interest, said Modi.
Vajpayee died at the AIIMS in Delhi in August this year at the age of 93 following prolonged illness.