Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would always listen to his alliance partners as that was his style of working, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee recalled today after paying tribute to the BJP stalwart. Banerjee, who flew to Delhi from Kolkata this evening, spent an hour at Vajpayee’s residence to pay her last respects to the leader, under whom she had served as a Union minister.
“We have worked together. We supported his government from outside. He worked with all. It was his style of working. He always listened to us. Nitishji, Jayalalithaaji, Navinji — we were all together. There was no difference among us,” she said.
Banerjee said she could not control her emotions when she visited the “great leader” in 2011 after she became the chief minister of West Bengal.
“He wanted to say something to me, but could not. I kept in touch with his daughter,” she told reporters outside Vajpayee’s residence.
The residents of Harish Chatterjee Street in south Kolkata still remember the day in July 2000 when then prime minister Vajpayee came calling to their narrow lane.
Vajpayee had come to visit Banerjee, then railway minister in his cabinet. The veteran politician, along with his family members, paid a visit to Banerjee’s house and met her mother Gayatri Devi.
He had touched Gayatri Devi’s feet. He was greeted with the blowing of conch shells. Remembering Vajpayee’s visit to her Kalighat home, Banerjee, before leaving for Delhi, said, “He had come to my residence and I am grateful to him for that. Both families share a very cordial relationship.”
MPs Sukhendu Sekhar Roy and Dinesh Trivedi will represent the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) at Vajpayee’s cremation in the national capital tomorrow.