Vajpayee unified the whole country with his leadership: Sonowal

From Our Correspondent

GUWAHATI: Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal along with top leaders across the political spectrum in Assam on Monday paid rich tributes to the former Prime Minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the ‘shradhanjali’ programme organised in his memory by the Assam Government at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra.
Saying that the former Prime Minister believed in dialogue and consensus to solve all problems, Governor Mukhi said that because of this reason he could sustain an alliance government. The Governor said Vajpayee’s oratory skills were exceptional and he demonstrated this while delivering a speech at the United Nations in Hindi, Mukhi said.
Recalling the former Prime Minister’s sense of humour as an asset in his repertoire, the Governor stated that Vajpayee would make witty remarks even in the most tense situations in the Parliament and it would relax the environment while bringing the discussion back on track. He was a parliamentarian per excellence and served in many capacities in the Parliament as an MP.
Paying rich tributes to the former Prime Minister, chief minister Sonowal said that Vajpayee made tremendous sacrifices for the country throughout his life and acted as a unifying factor for the country cutting across divides of geography, religion and language.
“Vajpayee’s pleasant demeanour inspired love and affection from all sections of the society as he commanded respect from people irrespective of their political ideologies,” Sonowal remarked.
Quoting Vajpayee’s lines – “I do not fear death but fear getting a bad name” – the chief minister highlighted the former Prime Minister’s contribution to Assam and the North-East through the construction of Bogibeel Bridge, linking the state with East West Corridor and the setting up of DoNER Ministry.
Speaking on the occasion, Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Vajpayee was a friend of Assam and he supported the causes of Assam Agitation.
Because of the former Prime Minister’s initiatives, the union ministries were mandated to spend 10 per cent of their budget allocations for the development of the North-Eastern region.
However, in case the ministries failed to spend the said amount for North-East development purpose, the unspent funds would be diverted to a non-lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR).
Thus, NLCPR was established by the Vajpayee Government which is responsible for ushering in rapid development of the region.
“Vajpayee was the person who brought the N-E closer to the Centre. As a Prime Minister, Vajpayee released dues to Assam despite having an almost empty coffer. He was such a personality who was even revered by Congress leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Farookh Abdullah,” Sharma said.
Former Chief Minister and AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said,” Vajpayee was a colossal personality with a very big heart. I have met so many Prime Ministers, but it was only Vajpayee who really wanted rapid development of Assam.”
Water Resource Minister Keshab Mahanta, state BJP President Ranjit Kumar Dass along with a host of other dignitaries also spoke on the occasion highlighting Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s association with Assam and his contribution in brining NE into the developmental discourse of the country.

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