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The UP constituency from where Vajpayee’s journey as parliamentarian started

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s journey as a parliamentarian started from Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh in 1957. He lost the election when he contested again in 1962, but was re-elected from Balrampur Lok Sabha constituency in 1967.

india Updated: Aug 17, 2018 23:30 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Balrampur (Uttar Pradesh)
Atal Bihari Vajpayee,Vajpayee death,Vajpayee funeral
Close associates of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said he did not care about caste and religion. (AP/File Photo)

Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s journey as a parliamentarian started here. In 1957, Balrampur sent Vajpayee, who was later to become the country’s prime minister thrice, to the Lok Sabha for the first time.

He lost the election when he contested again in 1962, but was re-elected from Balrampur Lok Sabha constituency in 1967.

Vajpayee and Vidhan Sabha candidate Surajlal Gupta campaigned together in its Utraula assembly segment in 1967, Jana Sangh worker Ratanlal Gupta, who accompanied them, said.

Ratanlal Gupta said Vajpayee didn’t care about caste and religion, and recalled the time when they stopped at the home of Haider Ali in Mahdeya village.

“It had a good population of Brahmins and we told him that by having food at his place, his Brahmin vote bank might slip away,” Gupta said.

But Vajpayee laughed this away, punning on the Hindi word ‘khisakna’ or slipping away.

“Jo khisakna tha, pet me khisak gaya. Ab vote khiske ya rahe,” Vajpayee said, telling his companions that food had already slipped into his stomach, it didn’t matter now if the voters slipped away.

“I will not become a Muslim by having food at Ali’s place,” Vajpayee told the party worker.

While Vajpayee won the Lok Sabha seat, Surajlal Gupta lost the assembly polls held simultaneously.

Former MLA Sukhdev Prasad, considered close to Vajpayee, also has a story to tell.

During the 1957 Lok Sabha polls, Motipur resident Hasan Dawood campaigned for Vajpayee, carrying the Jana Sangh flag, Prasad said.

The MLA recalled a Delhi visit years later when they both met Vajpayee, who was by then the external affairs minister. “On meeting Dawood, Atalji hugged him,” Prasad said.

As Vajpayee was going abroad, he asked Dawood to accompany him up to the airport so that they could talk, the former MLA said. He said Dawood’s family still remembers Vajpayee, he said.

Vajpayee was cremated in Delhi on Friday.

First Published: Aug 17, 2018 22:15 IST