A 25-feet high statue of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be installed in Lok Bhawan, the Uttar Pradesh government secretariat in Lucknow, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Tuesday. Adityanath made the announcement at a ceremony held to celebrate Vajpayee's 94th birth anniversary. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, also the local MP, and Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik also attended the function.
"Atalji had strong ties with Uttar Pradesh. He started his public life from Balrampur in the state and represented Lucknow as an MP for five terms," the chief minister said, adding that a number of schemes are being launched in the name of the former prime minister.
"Atalji was the foundation of 'sushasan' (good governance). He learnt the nuances of politics from Deendayal Upadhyay and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and became a symbol of trust in politics," Adityanath said.
The chief minister said Vajpayee remained a soldier of democracy for a long time and set an example for all people's representatives. Vajpayee passed away in Delhi on August 16 after a prolonged illness. He was cremated with full state honours the next day.
Rajnath Singh stressed that people could learn from Vajpayee how to behave and work in public life. "He was very affectionate even when angry...he was victorious not only in the field of diplomacy but also in war...the barriers of political parties got demolished merely by his presence," the Union Home Minister said.
Governor Naik said it was a pleasant coincidence that Vajpayee shared his birthday with Jesus Christ and Mahamana Madan Mohan Malviya. He paid homage to all on behalf of the people of the state.
"Vajpayeeji was the 'mahanayak' (superhero) of politics and the accepted leader of the country...not only people of his party speak highly about him but leaders of opposition parties also praised him," he added.
"Atalji had the quality of taking everyone along and he took the country to new heights...despite being an MP from Lucknow he did not get a house constructed for himself," Naik said. He described Vajpayee as a rare talent.
Recalling the BJP's Mumbai convention in 1980, when Vajpayee was the party's national president, Naik said MC Chagla, an eminent jurist, diplomat and former Union minister had said in his address that the country's future prime minister was sitting beside him and those words came true in 1996. Yogi, Singh and Naik also offered floral tributes to Vajpayee.