Thursday 27 May 2004

Vajpayee Fades Out at Last (UPI)

M.D. Nalapat 

MANIPAL, India, May 27 (UPI) -- Former Indian prime ministers A.B. Vajpayee and P.V. Narasimha Rao are close friends, but while Vajpayee is low on intellect and superb in chemistry, the father of economic reform in India is the opposite -- high on IQ, low on EQ.
Meeting Vajpayee is a delight. The man always smiles and looks at you in a way that makes you feel that his existence was spent waiting for you. Every now and again, there is the emotion-laden hug that warms you to the man. Each of Vajpayee's gestures give off a soft glow but the words actually spoken by him are seldom Einsteinian. They usually consist of self-evident homilies such as, "peace is better than war" or "progress does more good for humankind than stagnation."
Useful propositions perhaps, but not entirely unknown. Going through the thousands of speeches made by the Bharatiya Janata Party regime's prime minister, it is difficult to locate any that deal with issues in a manner other than goody-goody.
The 79-year-old Atal Behari Vajpayee has been blessed by the angels all his life. They allowed him to lead the existence of a lotus-eater, continuing even in his just-concluded job as a relaxed man-about-town who has thus far remained untouched by controversy.
It is not that he ducked when exposes were flung his way; there has never been any need for such exertions, despite the reality that the Vajpayee government was the most graft-ridden that India has seen since 1947.