Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who is a permanent invitee to the state working committee meeting of the UP BJP, is likely to miss the event again due to his perennial poor health. The two-day state working committee meeting of the UP BJP will begin here tomorrow and is the first such meeting after the party’s stunning victory in last month’s assembly polls.
Elaborating further, Hero Bajpai, a member of UP BJP’s state working committee said, “The last time Atalji attended any such meeting was way back in 2006. The meeting then was held in Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Lucknow’s Niralanagar. It was the national working committee meeting in which Rajnath Singh was made BJP president”.
The two-day meeting is being held after a period of almost nine months. “The last such meeting was held in Jhansi,” Bajpai said. On whether he and other party office bearers will miss the presence of their favourite leader, Bajpai said, “We will certainly miss Atalji. But we also understand that owing to his bad health he is unable to attend the event. However, his blessings are always with us, and will continue to remain with us forever”.
The 92-year-old former prime minister did not cast his vote in the recent UP Assembly elections. He had represented Lucknow in the Lok Sabha five times in a row and gradually became synonymous with the ‘City of Nawabs’.
“The last time Atal Bihari Vajpayee voted was in 2004 Lok Sabha election, which was also the last election he contested. Thereafter, he could not vote in assembly elections of 2007 and 2012 and Lok Sabha elections of 2009 and 2014,” his close aide Shiv Kumar said.
Vajpayee has been indisposed for some years now due to age-related problems and has not been seen in public. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Lucknow in 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004. In the following Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and 2014, the BJP maintained its dominance on the seat as Lalji Tandon and Rajnath Singh were elected as MPs, respectively.
Vajpayee is the first and so far the only non-Congress leader to have completed a full term as prime minister.