It was July 2004 and I was watching ‘Aap ki Adalat’ where Rajat Sharma was interviewing VHP leader Mr. Praveen Togadia. Mr. Praveen Togadia would not hide his glee at shocking defeat of ABV in May 2004. That explained why there was a single BJP worker Outside our local booth when I went with my family. I had to stand in 45 degree temperature for nearly 30 minutes because my family insisted on getting voting slips from BJP guys who were nowhere to be found. That also explained the surprise defeat. Famed organisational muscle was missing in action, if not working against BJP. Ironically, Mr. Togadia (person who was fighting for Hindu Renaissance) had no regrets about installation of a blatantly anti-Hindu regime with a Christian foreigner as head.

Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee at 1996 oath-taking Ceremony. Government lasted only 13 days.

With numbers not on his side, with whatever little elbow room, Vajpayee laid the groundwork for mainstream acceptance of Hindutva. Starting with Nuclear tests, POTA and revision of history textbooks, he initiated the transformation of India to hard power. His cultural efforts gave some results as well. Readers would be surprised to know that JNU had a ABVP president in 2002, an achievement that still eludes Modi. Unlike Modi, Vajpayee had a coalition government which forbid hot persuit of ideological goals. However, biggest contribution of Vajpayee was far-reaching economic and social reforms. Ranging from EPF to Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan and National Telecom Policy to infrastructure development, policy initiatives of Vajpayee improved lives of people at ground level. My father use to say in 2003 that it is first time in his living memory that there is no shortage of gas cylinders. He was surprised when his friend got a phone connection within 15 days of application. Please note that there was no Vivekananda foundation at that time. He achieved everything despite adjustment with a highly hostile bureaucracy and ecosystem.

UPA: Most Destructive Regime in Indian History

2004 was only election till now that was fought on development issues and Vajpayee lost it convincingly. Apparently, vision of linking rivers did not enthuse neither his cadre nor public. In flood affected states of Bihar and Assam, his alliance got 6 out of 54 seats. Tamilnadu which could have benefitted from river linking gave him 0 out of 39 seats. People chose Mulatam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Karunanidhi, Sibhu Soren over Vajpayee and who can forget Left front with 6o seats given key to Indian polity. Unlike Togadia, there was no misconception among UPA honchos. They discovered that Hindus failed to vote for a government that was sympatetic to their causes while Minorities have opposed Vajpayee with exceptional commitment. That proved siding with Hindu does not pay and as a result, we got a regime that was almost as anti-Hindus as Mughals. Lot of luminaries have written extensively about economic plunder and civilization damage caused by UPA regime for 10 years. But I would put forward one incident that shocked me to the core.

I was posted to Chennai for my job assignment in 2008 and was living in a suburb just outside Chennai near my office. It was a mostly a backward village area with some landlords constructed some nice houses recently to benefit from IT boom in area. I was taken aback with significant number of Churches in the area with stars and crosses dangling outside houses. When I enquired about it, landlord told us that during Tsunami 2004, relief material provide by centre and state governments was extensively routed through missionary organisations. There was a pre-condition for all beneficiaries to be converted. He himself used to maintain charade of being a Christian while visiting area to ensure safety of his assets from Church authorities. He further told that no development work or government scheme cannot be implemented in area without approval from Church authorities as brute majority is used to create public disturbance in area. You can yourself gauge depth of cultural damage caused by vote of 2004.

in August 2018, after the demise of Vajpayee, there was a general outpouring of respect and realization of folly among Hindu middle-class. Finally, Hindus started to learn from their mistakes or that may be impact of UPA experience. Modi got a 2nd term to fulfill cultural agenda. Point to be noted in this case is that even Modi could not fulfill cultural agenda in 1st term with full majority. His achievements were even inferior to Vajpayee.

Vajpayee would always be remembered as one who reversed the cycle of degradation for ancient civilization of Bharata.

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