New Delhi : A year after he died most dramatically, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) admitted Friday that it “very much” missed Pramod Mahajan, a veteran who was at home as much with the corporate world as with politics.
“We miss him very much, specially his organisational capabilities and political acumen,” former party president M. Venkaiah Naidu told IANS.
Naidu and his other colleagues admitted that the shooting of Mahajan in April last year by his brother and his eventual death in May 2006 had left a vacuum that the party had not been able to fill up.
Both Naidu and Mahajan were party general secretaries when L.K. Advani was the president. It was master strategist Mahajan who played a key role in the Rath Yatra of 1990 that catapulted the party to the centrestage of Indian politics.
“He had the unique knack of handling all kinds of situations. His management skills would be difficult to match,” said Naidu.
On Mahajan’s first death anniversary, several BJP leaders paid tributes to the man.
“He was a person of principle, values and had the ability to get people together on various issues. His qualities are worth emulating,” was how former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee described Mahajan.
Mahajan’s capabilities also came for praise from across the border, with Pakistan Senator Mushahid Hussain saying: “The void hurts, mainly because it takes ages to carve out such an all-rounder.”
It was Mahajan who made the Shiv Sena the first ally of the BJP when it was considered a “political untouchable”.
But Mahajan did not always win.
It was he who planned the 2004 Bharat Uday Yatra of then deputy prime minister L.K. Advani. But that did not click and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was voted out.
However, unlike other BJP stalwarts who virtually went underground after the BJP’s unexpected electoral rout, Mahajan accepted responsibility for the setback and went from one TV channel to another answering questions.
Though the Lok Sabha defeat did bring his graph in the party down, his political acumen came again to the forefront with the party’s Mumbai conclave in 2005 where he moved close to party president Rajnath Singh.
It was at this session that Vajpayee described Mahajan as “BJP’s Lakshman”.