New Delhi, Aug 16 (UNI) L K Advani, long time compatriot of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on Thursday said he was at a loss for words to express his deep grief and sadness at the passing away of his ‘closest friend’ of over 65 years.
In a letter he said, Atalji was more than a senior colleague for him.
“His captivating leadership qualities, mesmerising oratory, soaring patriotism and above all, his sterling humane qualities like compassion, humility and his remarkable ability to win over adversaries despite ideological differences all have had a profound effect on me in all my years in public life,” he said.
Advani said he cherished the memories of his long association with Vajpayee, since their days as ‘pracharaks’ of the RSS, to the inception of Bharatiya Jana Singh, the struggle of the dark months during the Emergency leading to the formation of Janata Party and later the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980.
“Atalji will be remembered as the pioneer of the first ever stable non-Congress coalition government at the Centre and I had the privilege of working as his deputy for six years. As my senior, he always encouraged and guided me in every possible manner,” he said, adding that he will miss him immensely.
Advani was amongst the first ones to go to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, where Vajpayee was admitted for treatment and breathed his last at 1705 hrs.